Language Policies and Voter Turnout: Evidence from South Africa

While many studies have probed the relationship between ethnic diversity
and voter turnout, few have examined how voter turnout might be
influenced by state policies that afford ethnic groups differing levels of official
recognition. This study draws on theories at the intersection of political
science and sociolinguistics, to develop and test an argument about the effect
that language recognition practices in multilingual democratic societies have
on voter turnout. Using data from South Africa, the study finds evidence
that inclusive language recognition is linked to higher turnout rates for
targeted groups. The study utilises aggregate data collected at ward level,
but assesses the results in a preliminary fashion with individual-level data
from Afrobarometer.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Journal of African Elections
Tags: Africa, elections, language, language policy, political participation, turnout, voting
journal of african elections vol14 number 2 transparent democratic governance in africa