The indicator describes the voting percentage of Finnish citizens resident in Finland in Parliamentary elections. Voting percentage describes the proportion of voters of persons entitled to vote.
Voting turnout is influenced by a number of factors. These include citizens’ education level, socio-economic status, party and other political commitments and, more widely, citizens’ perceived opportunities to make an influence. Other factors influencing electoral participation are age, gender, civil status and cultural background. In addition, the timing and political significance of elections are reflected in voting turnout. The participation rate, moreover, varies between elections. In recent elections, voter turnout has been higher in Finnish parliamentary and presidential elections than in local government and European Parliament elections. Between the genders, women have been participating in voting more actively than men for three decades now. In indicators measuring political participation, a general decline in citizens’ interest is perceptible, particularly in electoral and party participation.
Electoral participation does not tell the whole picture about political participation in Finland. In addition to electoral participation, political activity is channelled through political organisations and other political civil activism. In recent years, forms of participation have become lighter in practice and nature, and at the same time traditional organisational activity has shifted towards organisations working in the fields of leisure and recreation. The development of social media and other electronic information networks has also facilitated citizens’ self-organisation and simultaneously increased options for political activity.
Constructing and maintaining indicators describing electoral participation and civic participation are an important part of evaluating the functioning of the political system. By voting, citizens have the opportunity to take a position on policy options proposed by political parties and candidates. Indirectly, assessments of the credibility of a political system can be made from electoral participation. Electoral participation has traditionally been the most common form of political participation in Finland. Indicators describing electoral participation are among the other democracy indicators that facilitate the long-term monitoring of the state of democracy. Information on citizens’ political participation serve the research and development needs of the public sector, and it also offers government the opportunity to adjust unwanted development trends in the political system. Indicators describing social participation support the evaluation of the overall development of society.