Do people feel more of a duty to vote in some elections?

Carol Galais*, André Blais

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Prior research on civic duty has focused on national elections, believed to be the most salient. Evidence on turnout gaps between election levels suggests that it is relevant to inquire whether people feel that they have the same duty to vote in national, subnational, and supranational elections. The article investigates this phenomenon, comparing citizens’ attitudes towards national, European, and regional elections in ten regions from four countries. About one-quarter of European citizens demonstrate a lesser degree of duty towards European rather than in national elections. Differences in duty levels for national and regional elections are infrequent and concentrated in regions with nationalist movements. Both rational and identity considerations explain why some individuals feel less obliged to vote in a particular election than in another, but the latter matter more.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)755-777
Number of pages23
JournalWest European Politics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2016


  • Duty
  • election level
  • multilevel government
  • turnout


Dive into the research topics of 'Do people feel more of a duty to vote in some elections?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this