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Voter registration in Chile. The 2012 municipal election marks the adoption of automatic registration laws. Voter registration data were collected from the Servicio Electoral (Electoral Service) of Chile: < http://www.servel.cl/ > .

Voter registration in Chile. The 2012 municipal election marks the adoption of automatic registration laws. Voter registration data were collected from the Servicio Electoral (Electoral Service) of Chile: < http://www.servel.cl/ > .

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In 2012, Chile passed a major election law reform to adopt automatic registration and voluntary voting. Prior to this, Chile, like most Latin American countries, had a compulsory voting law. With this reform, Chile became one of only a few countries to ever move from compulsory to voluntary voting. Since the new law came into effect, two elections...

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... the course of the next two decades, how- ever, voter registration gradually declined. Figure 1 graphs registered voters as a proportion of the population on the left y-axis, the total number of registered voters on the right y-axis, and the elec- toral period on the x-axis. The figure demonstrates that registration rates fell from 92 percent of the total population in 1989, to 80 percent in 1999, and then to a low of 68 percent in 2009-the last presidential election prior to reform. ...
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... because automatic registration by definition includes all eligible voters, it significantly increased the size of the electorate from 8 million to 13.4 million eligible voters. Since the transition to democracy, voter registration had fallen from 92 percent of the voting age population in 1989 to 68 percent in 2009 (see Figure 1). Second, automatic registration restored the composition of the elector- ate to reflect the population. ...
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... senti- ment is also reflected in historical registration rates. For example, there was never a rise in registra- tion rates in Chile prior to municipal elections, but there was always a small bump in registration prior to presidential elections (see Figure 1). Thus, it seems reasonable that turnout was slightly higher in the 2013 presidential elections than in the 2012 municipal elections. ...

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... With a turnout rate of 97.5%, the No option won 56% of the votes, and Chile had presidential elections in 1989, giving birth to a new democratic era. Since then, fewer eligible citizens registered each year (Barnes & Rangel, 2014), as in many modern democracies (Lijphart, 1997). The resulting electoral roll was strongly biased towards older people. ...
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Electoral rules are assumed to influence turnout. However, assessing this empirically is challenging because they rarely change and, when they do, counterfactuals are hard to come by. In 2012, Chile moved from voluntary and permanent registration and mandatory voting to automatic registration and voluntary voting. We study how electoral rules influence turnout by analyzing variations in turnout for presidential elections before and after this reform, with an original approach and using novel data. We estimate changes attributable to voluntary voting among the registered population as the increase in abstention rates among them and changes attributable to both automatic registration and voluntary voting among the non-registered population as the increase in turnout among them. We estimate counterfactual abstention and registration rates based on past behavior and use bounds to account for uncertainty. Our estimates suggest that while automatic registration and voluntary voting brought 7.1% of eligible population who were unregistered to the polls, voluntary voting pulled away 12% who were previously registered. The explicit purposes of this reform were to increase turnout and reduce the age bias in voting. We estimate a reduction in turnout of almost 5% of eligible population and a 39% reduction in the age bias of voters.
... First, Chileans are more likely to express a preference for a country with voluntary voting than one with unenforced or penalized compulsory voting. This is an important finding, as there is a strong push for the constitutional reinstatement of mandatory voting, the abolition of which in 2012 (at the same time automatic voter registration was adopted) likely caused a sharp drop in turnout (e.g., Barnes and Rangel, 2014;Brieba and Bunker, 2019). Second, Chileans are more likely to express a preference for a country with proportional representation and multiparty competition than one with disproportional electoral rules and two-party competition. ...
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Chile is undergoing perhaps the most dramatic reformation of any contemporary democracy and will adopt a wholly new constitution in the coming two years. Against this backdrop, in this Research Note we investigate which democratic features Chileans prefer. To so do, we field a conjoint experiment with a large quota sample of Chileans. Results reveal that Chileans have several distinct preferences over democratic features that are currently subject to change. We also find that these preferences are largely indistinguishable within demographic subgroups. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of our findings in light of Chile’s ongoing processes of democratic reform and lessons for other democracies.
... 3. For further information regarding the election law reform in Chile, see Barnes and Rangel (2014). 4. According to World Bank data (see https://www. ...
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This article puts Down's instrumental voter model (IVM) to a formal test using data of the 2017 Chilean national elections. It aims at two novel exercises in the research in the calculus of voting. Using a brand-new questionnaire with indicators on instrumental and consumption motivations for voting, we reassess the voting equation in Santiago de Chile. Furthermore, we analyse whether instrumental and consumption motivations have distinctive effects for individuals with different socio-demographic characteristics. Our results show that they do: women, younger, lower educated, and unmarried citizens are more responsive to both instrumental and consumption motivations. Moreover, the factors of the IVM travel better to Santiago de Chile than those of the consumption model. Resumen Este artículo contrasta formalmente el modelo del votante instrumental de Downs empleando datos de las elecciones generales chilenas de 2017. Su objetivo es acometer dos ejercicios novedosos en la investigación sobre el cálculo del voto. Utilizando un cuestionario muy reciente con indicadores de las motivaciones instrumentales y de Journal of Politics in Latin America 12(1) 78 consumo para votar, examinamos la ecuación del voto en Santiago de Chile. Asimismo, analizamos si las motivaciones instrumentales y de consumo tienen efectos diferentes para individuos con distintas características socio-demográficas. Nuestros resultados demuestran que así es: las mujeres, los jóvenes, los menos educados y los que no están casados son más sensibles tanto a las motivaciones instrumentales como a las de con-sumo. Además, los factores del modelo del votante instrumental viajan mejor al caso chileno que los del modelo de consumo.
... 3. For further information regarding the election law reform in Chile, see Barnes and Rangel (2014). 4. According to World Bank data (see https://www. ...
Article
Full-text available
This article puts Down’s instrumental voter model (IVM) to a formal test using data of the 2017 Chilean national elections. It aims at two novel exercises in the research in the calculus of voting. Using a brand-new questionnaire with indicators on instrumental and consumption motivations for voting, we reassess the voting equation in Santiago de Chile. Furthermore, we analyse whether instrumental and consumption motivations have distinctive effects for individuals with different socio-demographic characteristics. Our results show that they do: women, younger, lower educated, and unmarried citizens are more responsive to both instrumental and consumption motivations. Moreover, the factors of the IVM travel better to Santiago de Chile than those of the consumption model.
... To address the challenges associated with underrepresentation of marginalized groups, our research suggests that political parties should adopt incorporation tactics such as recruiting representatives from underrepresented groups and working to strengthen representative linkages. Whereas most governments in Latin America have made major strides in the incorporation of women, other groups-such as marginalized urban and rural popular classes, indigenous communities, and the youth-remain on the margins of politics (Barnes and Rangel 2014;Hughes 2011Hughes , 2013Morgan and Meléndez 2016). Although representative institutions can employ a number of different linkage strategies to strengthen their ties with constituents (Kitschelt and Wilkinson 2007), findings from this study imply that the incorporation of representatives from marginalized groups in society-for example, workers, indigenous groups, and the youth-has the potential to restore citizens' attachments to formal mechanisms of representation. ...
Article
How does the near-exclusion of working-class citizens from legislatures affect citizens’ perceptions of representation? We argue that when groups of people are continually denied access to representation, citizens are less likely to believe that their interests are represented by the legislature. By contrast, more inclusive institutions that incorporate members of the working class foster support for representative bodies. Using a multilevel analysis of eighteen Latin American countries—a region plagued by disapproval of and disenchantment with representation—we find that greater inclusion of the working class is associated with better evaluations of legislative performance. These findings have important implications for strengthening democracy in Latin America, as they indicate that more diverse political institutions may be key to deepening citizens’ attachments to representative bodies.
... Finally, the data limitations imposed on this question until now have only allowed scholars to compare electoral participation in countries employing compulsory voting (half of which are in Latin America) with countries that do not use compulsory voting. 1 The reform in Chile provides a unique opportunity to investigate this question at the subnational level (Barnes and Rangel 2014;Rangel 2017). In contrast to cross-national analyses, a major advantage of subnational research designs is that they enable us to test our expectations immediately before and after reform in the exact same electoral districts (e.g., Barnes, Tchintian, and Alles 2017;Hinojosa and Franceschet 2012) across a larger number of observations than is possible in cross-national analyses while exploiting important variation (e.g., Holman 2013Holman , 2014Shair-Rosenfield and Hinojosa 2014;Vonnahme 2012Vonnahme , 2014. ...
... When the Netherlands abandoned compulsory voting in 1970, overall turnout decreased from 94.6 to 74.1 percent (Irwin 1974). The abolition of compulsory voting in Chile was also associated with a significant decline in overall turnout rates (Barnes and Rangel 2014). Because election law reform is rare, others have used public opinion polls in an attempt to estimate the consequences of a reform in countries with mandatory voting. ...
... Figure 1 shows that turnout in municipal elections (measured as a percentage of registered voters) remained notably high and constant across time, suggesting that an overwhelming majority of those registered to vote complied with the compulsory voting law. 4 Yet, registration rates and turnout as a percentage of the voting-age population (i.e., all individuals eligible to vote regardless of registration status) gradually declined over the course of the next two decades as fewer newly eligible voters registered to vote. This steady decline prompted the government to reform the system in 2011 (Barnes and Rangel 2014;Morgan and Meléndez 2016). The reformed voting system combines automatic registration (i.e., the entire voting eligible population is automatically registered to vote) and voluntary voting. ...
Article
Cross-national studies of turnout find that compulsory voting has the strongest impact on participation, boosting turnout by 10 to 18 percent. We argue that in the absence of compulsory voting, other institutional factors such as small district size, strong electoral competition, and moderate candidate fragmentation may be similarly effective at mobilizing turnout. Where voting is mandatory, these factors should instead primarily influence how people vote once they are at the polls—diminishing levels of invalid voting, and consequently increasing effective turnout. We take advantage of the abolition of compulsory voting in Chile to test our expectations immediately before and after reform, in the exact same electoral districts. Using this unique subnational research design, we leverage data from more than 1,000 mayoral elections over the course of three electoral cycles and across 345 municipalities to examine patterns of turnout and invalid voting. Results show that small district size, strong electoral competition, and moderate candidate fragmentation are effective at reducing invalid voting when turnout is compulsory, and fostering higher levels of turnout when voting is voluntary.
... In recent decades, the adoption and piloting of different voting procedures and ballot structures have spurred considerable research on the effect of these reforms on electoral competition and political outcomes Herrnson et al. 2009). Governments reform their voting procedures in an effort to increase political participation (Barnes and Rangel 2014;Kersting and Baldersheim 2004), reduce electoral fraud (Fujiwara 2015;Rezende 2003), and bolster confidence in the electoral process (Alvarez et al. 2009Thompson Jiménez 2009;Tula 2005). ...
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Although a growing number of countries have implemented electronic voting, few scholars have considered the unintended consequences of such reforms. We argue that changes in ballot structure imposed by electronic voting, implemented under the exact same electoral rules, can facilitate ballot splitting. Exploiting data from three elections and a novel ballot reform in Salta, Argentina - electronic voting was incrementally introduced over multiple elections - we provide an empirical analysis of how ballot structure influences ballot splitting. We use the Geographic Information System to reconstruct precinct demographics and matching to address threats to random assignment. This empirical strategy allows us to treat our data as a quasi-experiment. We find that precincts casting electronic ballots under an Australian ballot, rather than the ballot-and-envelope system, have significantly higher rates of ballot splitting. Our findings imply that less complicated voting procedures can affect the composition of legislative representation and manufacture a more inclusive legislature. © 2017 by the Southern Political Science Association. All rights reserved.
... However, since the reform implementation in 2012, participation rates have continued to decline (Barnes and Rangel 2014), and young people remain disproportionately unlikely to vote (Achtenberg 2014). Electoral participation among indigenous communities is also low. ...
Article
Conventional wisdom suggests Chile’s party system is highly institutionalized. However, recent declines in participation and partisanship have begun to raise questions about this veneer of stability. This article assesses the current state of the Chilean party system, analyzing its ability to provide linkage. We specify a theoretical framework for identifying challenges to linkage and constraints on necessary adaptation. We then use this framework to evaluate linkage in the contemporary Chilean system, emphasizing how its representational profile has changed since the democratic transition. The analysis suggests the two partisan coalitions no longer present clear policy alternatives and programmatic representation increasingly depends on policy responsiveness and relics of old ideological divides. Significant institutional constraints impede parties’ ability to incorporate demands from emerging social groups, and clientelism remains a complementary but not core linkage mechanism. This evidence indicates that while representation in Chile has not yet failed, the system contains serious vulnerabilities. © 2016, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies. All rights reserved.
... However, since the reform implementation in 2012, participation rates have continued to decline (Barnes and Rangel 2014), and young people remain disproportionately unlikely to vote (Achtenberg 2014). Electoral participation among indigenous communities is also low. ...
Article
The right to vote is a keystone of democracy, but many groups, including those that were long excluded from the ballot, fail to exercise their rights in large numbers. In the United States, cutting edge research has argued that the first women to cast ballots were “peripheral” voters: their decisions to participate were even more sensitive to electoral competition than were men’s, producing larger gender gaps in turnout in less competitive districts. This paper argues that the portability of the peripheral voting thesis depends on the electoral institutions when suffrage was granted. Using the example of Norway, which transitioned from majoritarian rules to proportional representation just a few years after women won the vote, I show that proportional representation, which increases competition on average, produces a dramatic fall in the gender turnout gap, particularly in previously uncompetitive districts. These findings suggest that electoral systems, more than gender, made women peripheral voters