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Using the Pandemic as a Pretext

Using the Pandemic as a Pretext One of the most visible effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is on voter turnout. Earlier research concludes that the pandemic depresses turnout by looking at statistical patterns and testing the explanatory power of pandemic casualties against alternative causes. Based on the existing results, we only assume that the pandemic was related to depressing turnout but we do not know if that happened. In this sense, there is limited attention paid to people’s perspectives. This article addresses this gap in the literature and analyzes the importance of the pandemic for absenteeism through the eyes of (non)voters. It focuses on Romania, a country with a particularly low turnout in the 2020 national elections compared to the previous elections. The analysis uses 21 semi-structured interviews conducted with persons with a different sociodemographic profile who voted in 2016 but did not vote in 2020. We use inductive thematic analysis to identify the reasons behind their absenteeism. The main findings reveal that the main reasons for absenteeism are rooted in voters’ long-term attitudes toward the political system and elections. The COVID-19 pandemic did not appear to influence people’s absenteeism, but was sometimes used mainly as a pretext to stay at home. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Communist and Post-Communist Studies University of California Press

Using the Pandemic as a Pretext

Using the Pandemic as a Pretext

Communist and Post-Communist Studies , Volume 56 (4): 19 – Dec 28, 2023

Abstract

One of the most visible effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is on voter turnout. Earlier research concludes that the pandemic depresses turnout by looking at statistical patterns and testing the explanatory power of pandemic casualties against alternative causes. Based on the existing results, we only assume that the pandemic was related to depressing turnout but we do not know if that happened. In this sense, there is limited attention paid to people’s perspectives. This article addresses this gap in the literature and analyzes the importance of the pandemic for absenteeism through the eyes of (non)voters. It focuses on Romania, a country with a particularly low turnout in the 2020 national elections compared to the previous elections. The analysis uses 21 semi-structured interviews conducted with persons with a different sociodemographic profile who voted in 2016 but did not vote in 2020. We use inductive thematic analysis to identify the reasons behind their absenteeism. The main findings reveal that the main reasons for absenteeism are rooted in voters’ long-term attitudes toward the political system and elections. The COVID-19 pandemic did not appear to influence people’s absenteeism, but was sometimes used mainly as a pretext to stay at home.

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References (63)

Publisher
University of California Press
Copyright
© 2023 by The Regents of the University of California
ISSN
0967-067X
eISSN
1873-6920
DOI
10.1525/cpcs.2023.1823167
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

One of the most visible effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is on voter turnout. Earlier research concludes that the pandemic depresses turnout by looking at statistical patterns and testing the explanatory power of pandemic casualties against alternative causes. Based on the existing results, we only assume that the pandemic was related to depressing turnout but we do not know if that happened. In this sense, there is limited attention paid to people’s perspectives. This article addresses this gap in the literature and analyzes the importance of the pandemic for absenteeism through the eyes of (non)voters. It focuses on Romania, a country with a particularly low turnout in the 2020 national elections compared to the previous elections. The analysis uses 21 semi-structured interviews conducted with persons with a different sociodemographic profile who voted in 2016 but did not vote in 2020. We use inductive thematic analysis to identify the reasons behind their absenteeism. The main findings reveal that the main reasons for absenteeism are rooted in voters’ long-term attitudes toward the political system and elections. The COVID-19 pandemic did not appear to influence people’s absenteeism, but was sometimes used mainly as a pretext to stay at home.

Journal

Communist and Post-Communist StudiesUniversity of California Press

Published: Dec 28, 2023

Keywords: voter turnout; pandemic; apathy; politicians; Romania

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