Amazing Election Facts
Amazing Election Facts

45 Interesting Facts about Elections

By Karin Lehnardt, Senior Writer
Published May 18, 2018
  • In the United States, individual states decide how and when to register voters, which has often led to confusion. Just 13 states allow voter registration on Election Day.[13]
  • In Canada, there is no deadline to register to vote. Voters are allowed to register when they arrive at the polls on Election Day.[13]
  • In France, citizens are automatically registered to vote when they turn 18 years old. In Sweden, eligible voters are automatically registered when they turn in their tax registration rolls.[13]
  • Oregon is the first and only state in the United States to use automatic voter registration.[13]
  • Some countries, such as India, Greece, Ukraine, and Colombia, have a "None of the Above" option on their election ballots. In the United States, only Nevada offers a "None of These Candidates" option.[7]
  • Over 22 countries around the world require their citizens to vote. Citizens who do not vote are typically subject to penalties, such as fines or community service. Voter turnout in these countries is typically high.[13]
  • Weird Election Fact
    Your campaign is in trouble when it loses to a foot powder
  • A brand of anti-chafing foot powder won a 1967 mayoral election in Picoza, Ecuador. The foot powder company claimed their product would bring hygiene and well-being to the 4,000 townspeople.[12]
  • Many countries, such as Greece, Australia, and Brazil, hold their elections on the weekend to encourage higher voter turnout. Traditionally, elections in the United States have been held on Tuesdays because, in the past, that allowed farmers to travel to polling places. Tuesdays did not interfere with the Biblical Sabbath or with market day, which, in many towns, was on Wednesday.[13]
  • The United States trails most developed nations in voter participation.[9]
  • During the "Bleeding Kansas" election in 1855, over 5,000 so-called "Border Ruffians" entered Kansas to sway the election in order to force pro-slavery legislation. Even though the number of votes cast was more than the number of eligible voters in the territory, the governor approved the election.[15]
  • A military coup canceled the 1991 Algerian elections, which triggered the Algerian Civil War. Between 44,000 and 150,000 people were killed.[16]
  • The 1927 general election in Liberia is the most corrupt election in history. Charles D. B. King, who was seeking a third term as president, won around 234,000 votes to his opponent's 9,000. However, there were only 15,000 eligible voters in the country at the time.[17]
  • In 1964, Haitian dictator Papa Doc asked to be elected as "President for Life" and won 99.9% of the vote. All the ballots were pre-marked "yes."[17]
  • In 1955,  Vietnamese Prime Minister Ngô Đình Diệm printed his ballots on red paper, which the Vietnamese consider a very lucky color. He printed the ballots for his opponent on green paper, which is considered a very unlucky color. Ultimately, he won the election—with more votes than there were registered voters.[17]
  • During the 1988 Mexican general election, the government claimed that all the computers had crashed when the opposition party was shown to be winning. After the reboot, the government's party was miraculously ahead. All the ballots were later burned to remove evidence of the fraud.[16]
  • The people who cast the votes don't decide an election, the people who count the votes do.

    - Joseph Stalin

  • In Liechtenstein, one of the smallest countries on Earth, the entire national community votes on whether someone can become a citizen, based on their skills and employment.[12]
  • In the 1872 United States election, President Grant ran against a dead man. His opponent, Horace Greeley, died during the election process.[12]
  • Up until 2012, it was illegal in South Carolina to buy alcohol on Election Day.[12]
  • In 1997, Texas passed a law that allowed American astronauts in space to electronically cast their ballots in federal elections. In that same year, David Wolf cast the first-ever space vote while aboard the Russian Space Station Mir.[12]
  • George Washington spent his entire campaign budget (50 pounds) on 160 gallons of liquor to serve to potential voters.[2]
  • The developed countries with the highest voter turnouts are Belgium (87.2%), Sweden (82.6%), and Denmark (80.3%).  The United States ranks lower than most countries at 55.7%. Unlike the United States, however, the top ranking countries have compulsory voting laws.[3]
  • The modern system of elections emerged in the 17th century in Europe and in North America, when governments began to be viewed as representing individual human beings rather than estates, corporations, or vested interest groups.[18]
  • Over 45% of Africans polled reported that voters are always or sometimes threatened with violence at the polls.[10]
  • African Elections
    Free and fair elections are a precious right

  • It wasn't until the 1890s that secret ballots became commonly used in America.[5]
  • In July 2016, the FBI launched an investigation into possible links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign.[1]
  • Australian Aboriginals were not given the right to vote until 1962.[4]
  • Before 1948, university graduates and business owners in the UK were allowed to cast more than one ballot, giving certain social groups an electoral advantage.[18]
  • In 16 U.S. states, it is illegal to take a photo with your ballot. Doing so can result in a fine or even jail time.[6]
  • Only six states have explicit bans on guns in polling places: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas.[6]
  • In Saudi Arabia, women finally won the right to vote in 2015.[11]
  • Most Republicans in the United States believe that weekend voting will draw more urban and minority voters to the polls to vote for Democrats, and, consequently, oppose moving Election Day from Tuesday to a weekend.[9]
  • Voting Traditions
    In the United States, voting on a Tuesday is not enshrined in the Constitution

  • In the United States, electioneering, such as buying votes or attempting to influence the actions of a voter, is against the law in most states.[6]
  • Making a precise plan of where, when, and who you'll vote for increases the chances that you'll actually do it.[6]
  • Saudi Arabia has had only seven elections in the last 80 years. Additionally, all legislation has to be vetted and approved by the reigning monarch.[11]
  • In the United States 2016 election, six million citizens were not allowed to vote due to a felony conviction on their record, a statistic which affects in 1 in 13 African Americans.[11]
  • Since 2003, rampant ballot-stuffing has been recorded in Russia. Scholars note that only Kremlin apologists and "Putin sycophants" believe that Russian elections meet the standards of good democratic practice.[11]
  • In 1893, New Zealand became the first country to allow women to vote.[11]
  • The Ohio Constitution prohibits "idiots" from voting. The constitution states "no idiot, or insane person shall be entitled to the privileges of an elector."[14]
  • Hayes Fact
    Hayes was elected after the most lengthy, bitterly disputed, and corrupt presidential election in United States history
  • The 1876 United States presidential election was plagued by allegations of fraud and voter intimidation. The Democrats were accused of intimidating voters, so in retaliation, Republicans threw away huge swathes of ballots, giving Republican Rutherford Hayes the victory.[17]
  • On August 18, 1920, the United States Congress passed the 19th Amendment, which guaranteed all American women the right to vote.[11]
  • In the United States, the 1965 Voting Rights Act is considered one of the most important pieces of civil rights legislation in United States history. Its purpose was to secure the voting rights of African Americans under the 15th Amendment.[2]
  • In Utah, women were granted the right to vote twice. The territorial legislature granted it unanimously in 1870. However, the United States Congress revoked that right in 1887 in an attempt to curtail polygamy.[14]
  • In ancient Sparta, the government assembly would vote by shouting. The side who shouted the loudest would win the point. Aristotle called the practice “childish.”[8]
  • In Texas, people can vote with a gun license but not with a student ID.[14]
  • Approximately 64% of the United States' voting-age population is registered to vote, compared to 91% in Canada and the United Kingdom, 96% in Sweden, and nearly 99% in Japan.[3]
  • Countries with the Highest Voter Turnouts
    CountryVoter Turnout (% of eligible voters) 
    1. Vietnam99.3
    2. Rwanda98.9
    3. Laos97.9
    4. Singapore93.6
    5. Ethiopia 93.2
    6. Malta92.1
    7. Turkmenistan91.3
    8. Luxembourg 91.2
    9. Australia91.0
    10. Cuba90.9
    Shocking Election Facts INFOGRAPHIC
    Elections Infographic
References
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