Turnout lower amongst younger people
Turnout in the 2014 local government elections was the lowest to date, with only 66.5% participating. Turnout was higher amongst women than amongst men, or 67.3% compared to 65.9%. A total of 158,616 people in 71 municipalities voted in the election, which was held on May 31. The election went uncontested in three municipalities.


Overall there is a positive association between turnout and age. Some 45.4% of people aged 20-24 voted in the election but the highest turnout was for people aged 65-69, or 82.8%. However, turnout among people under 20 was higher than for people in their 20s. 51.9% of voters ages 18 and 19 turned out to vote.


Participation rates are inversely related to the size of municipal populations, i.e. the smaller the municipality the higher the turnout. For example, 63.6% of people living in municipalities with 10 thousand to 99,999 inhabitants turned out to vote compared with 79% of people living in municipalities with less than 1000 inhabitants. This pattern holds for all age groups, e.g. 42% of the age group 20-24 voted in municipalities with 10 thousand to 99,999 inhabitants while 58.9% of that age group in municipalities with fewer than a thousand inhabitants voted.


About the study
On 16th of May this year Althingi passed a resolution entailing that Statistics Iceland should henceforth collect information on turnout by age, starting with the 2014 local government election. Statistics Iceland already collects information about turnout by sex. It was clear from the outset that adding information about age would increase the response burden of the municipal election authorities considerably. It was thus decided to opt for a random stratified sample of 25 thousand eligible voters rather than collecting information about all voters. The sample was stratified according to the size of municipalities so that 100% of voters living in municipalities with 500 or fewer inhabitants were sample, 20% of voters in municipalities with 501-3,000 inhabitants, 10% of voters in municipalities with 3,001-5,000 inhabitants, and 5% of voters in municipalities with over 5,000 inhabitants.

A more detailed analysis of turnout will be presented at a later date.