Approximately one in 10 voters have yet to collect their voting documents with just over one week to go until polling day.

Chief electoral commissioner Joseph Camilleri said 37,000 documents were still waiting to be picked up, describing the figure as "quite high". 

However, he said he expected that to drop significantly as the March 24 deadline for people to collect the documents they need to cast their vote nears.

In the 2017 general election, 8,372 voting documents were not collected by the close of the deadline. 

Turnout on decline

Both Labour leader Robert Abela and his Nationalist counterpart Bernard Grech have been urging voters to collect their documents. 

At a rally on Thursday night, Abela told his supporters that everyone has "a duty" to participate in the election and acknowledged that some voters felt "hurt".

Political analysts predict that abstentions mostly harm the incumbent party as being government is more likely to result in failing to satisfy voters than being in opposition. 

That said incumbency, being the elected party in government, gives parties the chance to address any grievances before final polling day.

A record low?

Sources in the election strategy teams of the two main political parties say this election could see the lowest turnout in recent electoral history. 

Malta’s election turnout, among the highest in Europe, has been on a steady decline. 

Of the 341,856 people registered to vote in 2017, 92.07% cast their vote  - the lowest figure since 1966 but less than one percentage point down from 2013's figure of 92.98%.

Party sources fear that this year the figure could dip to as low as 87 or 88 per cent. 

March 24 deadline

Voters have until midnight on March 24 to collect the documents they need to cast their vote. 

They have until March 21 to collect them from their local police station and then will have three days to collect them from the electoral commission offices in Naxxar. 

Camilleri said that around 8,000 voting documents were being collected every day over the past week, as a significant number of voters were leaving it late. 

Speculating on why this could be, Camilleri said the fast pace of daily life could mean a number of voters will leave it to just before voting day. 

Malta boasts one of the highest voter turnout rates in the world. By way of comparison, around 70 per cent of British voters showed up to decide whether or not the UK should remain in the EU, and in the US, voter turnout fell to a 20-year low of 55 per cent when Donald Trump took over the White House in 2016.

Sign up to our free newsletters

Get the best updates straight to your inbox:
Please select at least one mailing list.

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By subscribing, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing.