Elections: 5 facts about voting around the world

5 facts about voting around the world Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Voting is compulsory in 22 countries in the world

In these countries, if an elector does not present themselves to a polling station on election day, they may be fined or have to carry out some form of community service.

In practice, only 13 countries out of 22 enforce their compulsory voting laws.

These are:

  • Australia - Non voters can be fined

  • Cyprus - Non voters can be fined

  • Chile - Non voters can be fined

  • Peru - Non voters may be banned from banking or carrying out administrative transactions for three months, and may also be fined

  • Singapore - Non voters may be removed from the electoral register

  • Brazil - Non voters may be barred from receiving wages or takingprofessional exams. They may not be allowed to enrol at some schools or universities

  • Uruguay - Non voters may be fined or some of their civil rights may be removed

  • Nauru - Non voters can be fined

  • Luxembourg - Non voters can be fined

  • Liechtenstein - Non voters can be fined

  • Argentina - Non voters may be fined or some of their civil rights may be removed

  • Turkey - Non voters can be fined

Women do not automatically have the right to vote in some countries

Women in Vatican City and Saudi Arabia still do not have the right to vote.

In Saudi Arabia, a new law passed by King Abdullah has decreed that women will be able to vote and run for office in this year's elections.

In Vatican City, women cannot vote because papal conclaves are the only voters in this tiny country in the centre of Rome. Since women cannot be cardinals, they cannot vote for the Pope.

Meanwhile, in Lebanon, women can vote but only after proving that they've had elementary education. The same is not required of men.

King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Credit: Abd Rabbo-Hounsfield-Klein-Mousse-Zabulon/ABACA/Press Association Images

There are 20 autocracies in the world, where citizens cannot vote for their leaders

These are:

  • Azerbaijan

  • Bahrain

  • Belarus

  • China

  • Cuba

  • Eritrea

  • Iran

  • Kazakhstan

  • Kuwait

  • Laos

  • North Korea

  • Oman

  • Qatar

  • Saudi Arabia

  • Swaziland

  • Syria

  • Turkmenistan

  • United Arab Emirates

  • Vietnam

  • Uzbekistan

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Credit: Parspix/ABACA/Press Association Images

Some teenagers in the world can vote at the age of 16

You can vote two years earlier than British teenagers if you:

  • Live on the Isle of Man, Jersey or Guernsey

  • Live in Austria

  • Live in Nicaragua, Brazil or Ecuador

  • Live in Germany and are voting in Länder or state elections- Live in Hungary and meet certain criteria, for example if you are married before reaching the age of 18 you have full adult legal rights and can therefore vote.

  • Live in Slovenia and are employed.

  • Live in Norway and are part of the 20 selected municipalities that the government has given 16-year-olds the right to vote in the September 2011 local elections.

16-year-olds in Guernsey can vote Credit: Eye Ubiquitous/Press Association Images

Malta has the highest turnout of any country in the world without mandatory voting

An average of 94 per cent of voters have turned out to make their voices heard in each election from 1960 to 1995.

The Chilean electorate come second with 93 per cent, followed by Austrian voters.

By comparison, only 65 per cent of UK voters went to the ballot box in 2010.

The Prime Minister of Malta Joseph Muscat Credit: Tim Brakemeier/DPA/Press Association Images