An analysis of factors determining voter turnout : a case study of Kampala Central Division
Namata, Ssimbwa Gladys
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The determinants of voter turnout in Uganda have not been researched on like it has been done in other countries like South Africa, USA and others; yet voting is a crucial exercise in every country. For instance, since South Africa's society is segmented on ethnic lines, ethnicity therefore plays a crucial role in affecting voting patterns and political choices, followed by socio-economic status and age of the voter. In USA, American citizens with more education and income, employed individuals, home owners, those who have stayed longer at current residence, professionals, women, older individuals, married individuals and blacks were more likely to register and vote. In Uganda, there was need to research on the determinants of voter turnout and the magnitude of their contributions. The major aim of the study was to analyse factors determining voter turnout. The data used in the research was mainly primary data, collected by use of questionnaires in Kampala Central Division. However, some secondary data was obtained; like the list of registered voters which was used as the sampling frame. This was provided by the Electoral Commission of Uganda, a body in charge of elections. Systematic sampling procedure was applied at all stages in sample selection. The data was analyzed using logistic regression model which showed the length of time at current residence as the most significant predictor, followed by education, then age, eligibility of household members to vote and lastly not knowing whom to vote. The findings were that; for each additional year a person resides in a particular area, the odds in favour of voting increases by 4.6%, the less educated vote more than the higher educated, the odds in favor of a person to vote increases by 6.2% each additional year of age, the odds of not voting for persons from households where some members are below the voting age are one and a half times more than for those where all members are eligible voters and many voters not know who to vote. The other variables, which are; sex, marital status, region of origin, economic status, lack of interest, elections rigging and other forms of malpractices and being very busy or process is time wasting were not significant. It was therefore concluded that age, length of time at current residence, education, eligibility of household members to vote and not knowing whom to vote affect voting. There is need therefore, for the Electoral Commission to carry out more elaborate sensitization programmes about voting targeting all registered and unregistered voters.