After increasing for many decades, there has been a trend of decreasing voter turnout in most established democracies since the 1960s. In general, low turnout may be due to disenchantment, indifference, or contentment. Low turnout is obviously considered to be undesirable, and there is much debate over the factors that affect turnout and how to increase it. In spite of significant study into the issue, scholars are divided on reasons for the decline. Its cause has been attributed to a wide array of economic, demographic, cultural, technological, and institutional factors. There have been many efforts to increase turnout and encourage voting.
Different countries have very different voter turnouts. For example, in the United States 2008 presidential election turnout was 61%. In Belgium, which has compulsory voting, and Malta, which does not, participation reaches 95%. These differences are caused by a mix of cultural and institutional factors and the engagement of the electorate.