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Surge in voter turnout in Indian polls

Turnout in India's multi-phase election is so far almost eight percentage points higher than last time, data showed Wednesday, reflecting enthusiasm for polls expected to bring the opposition Hindu nationalists to power. Polling in five of the ten phases has been completed, with the biggest day of voting set for Thursday. The last ballots will be cast on May 12 and final counting is scheduled for May 16.

Afghan election turnout could exceed 50 percent

The turnout for Afghanistan's presidential election on Saturday could exceed seven million, the head of the Independent Election Commission said -- more than half of eligible voters. Ahmad Yusuf Nuristani said that an estimated 3.5 million people had voted by midday (0830 GMT), five hours after polls opened, 64 percent of them men and 36 percent women. "This figure may have increased to more than seven million by 5:00 pm," he told a news conference. Polls officially closed at 5:00 pm.

Record number of South Africans register to vote

A record 25.3 million South Africans have registered to vote for the May general election, organisers said on Tuesday, casting doubt on predictions of low turnout. The Independent Electoral Commission said a final drive over the weekend saw more than one million people sign up to vote, pushing registration well above the 22 million mark seen in 2009. The May 7 election -- South Africa's fifth since apartheid ended in 1994 -- will be the first in which "born free" citizens can cast their ballot. They could make up as much as one fifth of the electorate.

More media won't solve political ignorance

By Jack Shafer (Reuters) - The surplus of quality journalism in print, on the Web, and over the air should give the public little to no excuse for being uninformed about political issues. Never before has so much raw and refined political intelligence been available at such a low cost to citizens willing to buy a cheap computer and Web connection - or pay the bus fare to the local public library.

More media won't solve political ignorance

By Jack Shafer The surplus of quality journalism in print, on the Web, and over the air should give the public little to no excuse for being uninformed about political issues. Never before has so much raw and refined political intelligence been available at such a low cost to citizens willing to buy a cheap computer and Web connection — or pay the bus fare to the local public library.

Online campaigning had limited impact on voter behavior: exit polls

Only about 10 percent of voters said they took into account candidates' information on the Internet for the upper house election Sunday, according to Kyodo News exit polls, indicating that online campaigning which began from this national election had limited effects. The exit polls showed that 86.1 percent said they did not refer to online campaigning when deciding who to vote for, compared with 10.2 percent who said they used Internet information in voting, although parties actively called for voters' support via the tool.

Voter turnout in Japan upper house election lowest since 1995 at 51%

Voter turnout in Sunday's House of Councillors election in Japan is estimated at 51.57 percent, the lowest since the upper house election held in 1995, according to a Kyodo News tally. The estimated figure compares with 57.92 percent in the previous election in 2010. The number of those who cast early votes hit a record high for an upper house election but it did not lead to an increase in the overall turnout rate.

Low turnout boosts suspense in Italy's municipal polls

Italy on Monday wrapped up municipal election runoffs in 67 towns and cities with a minuscule turnout, notably in Rome, reflecting voters' disaffection with politics and adding to suspense over the outcome. "It's not a drop, it's a collapse (in voter participation)," the leading Corriere della Sera daily said in an editorial. "This is disenchantment." Rome's right-wing mayor Gianni Alemanno is facing a stiff challenge from centre-left challenger Ignazio Marino, who won nearly 43 percent in the first round compared with 30 percent for the incumbent, a former neo-fascist.

Could youth vote stir up next European elections?

By Anders Melin BRUSSELS (Reuters) - For decades, elections to the European Parliament have been dismissed as secondary affairs, with turnout declining at every ballot since direct polling began in 1979. But frustration with how Europe's leaders have handled the economic crisis over the past three years, increased political engagement by young voters and the growing influence of the parliament itself could be about to change that.

Iraq local election participation 50 percent - election officials

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Voter participation in Iraq's provincial election on Saturday was 50 percent of eligible voters, the country's electoral authorities said after poll stations closed. Election officials said including results from a special vote a week earlier for members of the armed forces, total participation would be more than 51 percent. Turnout in the last local vote in 2009 was 51 percent.
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