Updated April 27th, 2024 at 22:12 IST

Passport Seizure to Salary Cut: Countries With Stringent Rules for Voting Abstention During Election

From confiscation of passports, to taking away the salary, these countries have provisions of punishment for those who choose to quit voting.

Reported by: Abhishek Tiwari
Countries with stringent rules to tackle voting abstention | Image:PTI/ Representational

New Delhi: Do you know that there are countries in the world where voting is compulsory and the government takes stringent action against the citizens for not exercising their ‘Right to Vote’? From confiscation of passports, to taking away the Right to Vote and salary cuts, these countries have provisions of punishment for those who choose to quit voting. There are as many as 33 countries in the world, where casting a vote is mandatory for their citizens and in 19 among them, there are even provisions to punish the citizens for remaining absent from voting.  

Exercising the right to vote is a way for people to keep their governments accountable, and to take a stand on certain policies. Some 13% of the world’s countries have compulsory voting, according to data compiled by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. Here’s a glimpse at what voting rights and policies look like around the world.


Countries With Strict Rules on Voting

Surprisingly, Singapore is one such country, where the government has strict provisions against those who don’t cast their votes. Reportedly voting rights of such citizens are mandatorily taken away by the government for not performing their fundamental duties in the development of the country.


In Brazil, the government confiscates passports of those who choose not to cast their votes during the elections. Apart from seizure of passports, the government also takes back several fundamental rights and access to resources of the country.

Staying away from casting vote in South American country Bolivia, leads to a 3 months of salary cut by the government. The government even has provisions to take back the salary from such citizens.


While, in Belgium, the government takes strict action against those citizens, who don’t turn up to vote during the elections. According to the reports, the country has been taking action against such citizens since 1893.

Mandatory Voting Results in Higher Turnout: Data

Unsurprisingly, countries with compulsory voting tend to have a much higher turnout. Talking about Belgium, Turkey and Australia, the three nations with compulsory voting, the voter turnout was recorded 87.2% in 2014, 86.4% in 2011  and 80.5% in 2013 respectively.

Compared with the United States, where there is no obligation to vote, the numbers stand quite low. This can be understood with the fact that during the 2012 elections in the US, the voter turnout was just 54.8% turnout in 2016 and 62% in 2020 elections.


Surprisingly, the turnout plunged in Chile in 2013, after the country moved from compulsory to voluntary voting in 2012 due to poor advertisement and implementation of the law. The country recorded only 42% turnout in 2013, which earlier had registered 87% turnout in the 2010 presidential election.


Published April 27th, 2024 at 21:54 IST