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Prof. James D. Long noted in UW Arts&Sci Perspectives, "Voting in Emerging Democracies, Despite the Challenges"

Submitted by Albert Sub Yun on November 2, 2023 - 1:37pm
Citizens from Ghana waiting in line to vote
Voters line up to vote in Ghana, where the process can require standing in the hot sun for many hours. Photo by James Long.

Nancy Joseph, Director of Editorial Communications, writes about the challenges faced with voting in new, emerging democracies across the world. Professor James Long, from the Political Science department, works along with Joseph to understand the high voter turnout despite the difficulties and dangers the voters face.

"If you can’t show that you voted, your neighbors may get angry. It can sometimes feel coercive even as it helps support community welfare," says Prof. James Long.

“In a developed, wealthy, consolidated democracy like the US, leaders have to provide things to the whole nation, or a governor to the whole state,” says Long. “But politicians in a country like Ghana or Kenya have way fewer resources to distribute, so they have to be very targeted. And the only way for communities to signal to politicians that they deserve services is to turn out and vote. They must collectively organize and vote on election day, or else their community might suffer.”

Click here for the full article.