QCOSTARICA – A new bill would force Costa Ricans to vote in national and municipal elections and unjustified absences at the polls would be sanctioned with fines of up to ¢1,386,000 colones.
The initiative presented by Partido Unidad Social Cristiana (PUSC) legislator, Horacio Alvarado, proposes that the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones (TSE) – Supreme Electoral Tribunal – regulate the future law within six months.
The PUSC legislator affirms that he presented the bill thinking of the large number of Costa Ricans who do not go to the polls in the elections.
The bill has yet to be assigned a legislative committee and can be changed by lawmakers.
According to the legislator, it is disappointing to see how the country is ungratefully covered by a wave of abstentionism.
In the presidential or national elections this year, the first electoral round on February 6 registered the highest abstention rate in the history of our country: in total, 40.65% of the electoral roll did not go out to vote.
This percentage is a record of non-attendance since the formation of the Second Republic, in 1949, and which until now was led by the 1958 election, with an abstention rate of 35.3%.
The figure, however, is not really surprising: since the 1998 election the country has been registering an increase in its abstention rates, going from 18.89% in ’94 to 30% in ’98; to 31.16% in 2002 and 34.81% in 2006.
Non-participation in elections fell slightly in 2010, with 30.88% and from then on it has continued to grow, to 31.81% in 2014 and 34.3% in 2018, to 40% in 2022.