The Political and Constitutional Reform Committee has launched a report and public consultation on reforms to the voting system to re-engage British people with politics and elections.
The reforms include:
· Online voting by 2020
· A civic duty to register to vote
· Being able to register to vote up to and including election day
· Fully postal voting in areas that wish it
· Mandatory voting, including an "abstention" option on the ballot paper
· And votes for 16 and 17 year olds by 2020
Graham Allen MP, Chair of the Committee said:
"Our democracy is facing a crisis if we do not take urgent action to make elections more accessible to the public and convince them that it is worth voting.
Turnout for the last general election was only 65%—almost 16 million voters chose not to participate—and millions of people are not even registered to vote. This is not an acceptable state of affairs for a modern democracy.
The fact that almost 85% of people turned out for the recent referendum on Scottish independence shows that people will turn out if they care about an issue and believe they can make a difference. This lesson needs to be learnt and applied to all other elections.
Our report on voter engagement considers some radical changes, like compulsory voting, online voting, and extending the franchise to younger people, because we believe a serious problem needs serious answers. We hope our report shows that Parliament is waking up to this issue by calling for radical change.
We are asking the public to seriously consider the proposals we put forward in our report and give us their views on what would work – what would engage you? What would make it easier for you to get out and vote? And care about voting? - so we can put forward the best recommendations in a final report ahead of the 2015 general election."
To read the report please visit : http://www.parliament.uk/voter-reforms
Watch me talk about the PCRC’s #VoterEngagement report at @DigiDemocracyUK event. http://bit.ly/1uxH9cx
Graham Allen, 'New report: parliament wants your view on getting voters engaged', OpenDemocracy, 14 November 2014 https://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/graham-allen/new-report-parliament-wants-your-view-on-getting-voters-engaged
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