Voter turnout in Chilean municipal elections reaches historical lows

Municipal elections held on 23 October 2016 registered the lowest turnout in Chilean elections since the country's return to democracy. According to the first recounts, only 4.9 million out of 14.1 million registered voters exercised their right to vote. This meant a turnout of 34.9 percent, easily the lowest figure in the elections and referenda held in the country since 1988. Experts identified several reasons for this, ranging from the public's lack of interest in politics to the corruption scandals that have undermined trust in the country's institutions. The restriction on political campaigning mandated by transparency and democratic strengthening laws passed in April 2016 was also quoted as having contributed to low turnout. Low participation in the election has sparked discussion on potential measures to address the issue, including a return to mandatory voting (abolished in 2012) and promoting the use of electronic voting to facilitate voter turnout (La Tercera).