Voter Engagement

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

 

Press Coverage

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

Press association, 'MPs propose national holiday for general elections', The Guardian, 14 November 2014 http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/nov/14/mps-propose-national-holiday-general-elections?utm_content=buffer3acac&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Nigel Morris, 'Elections should be held on special 'Democracy Day public holidays, says MPs', The Independent, 14 November 2014 http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/elections-should-be-held-on-special-democracy-day-public-holidays-say-mps-9859702.html

BBC News, 'UK Youth Parliament meets amid concerns over disengagement', BBC News, 14 November 2014 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-30041158

Siraj Datoo, 'MPs Say Citizens Should be Able To Vote Online By 2020', Buzzfeed News, 14 November 2014 http://www.buzzfeed.com/sirajdatoo/mps-call-for-online-voting

Daily Mail, 'Election day should be a public holiday boost turnout, say MPs: Commons committee says move could restore 'excitement' in the process', Daily Mail, 14 November 2014 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2833884/Election-day-public-holiday-boost-turnout-say-MPs-Commons-committee-says-restore-excitement-process.html

Lucy Fisher, 'Make voting mandatory, MPs urge', The Times, 14 November 2014 http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/politics/article4267376.ece?CMP=OTH-gnws-standard-2014_11_13

Sky News, 'Compulsory Voting Could Stop Democracy 'Crisis'', Sky News, 14 November 2014 http://news.sky.com/story/1372689/compulsory-voting-could-stop-democracy-crisis

Sarah Ann Harris, 'General election could be made a public holiday to boost turnout', Daily Express, 14 November 2014 http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/535423/General-election-public-holiday-boost-voter-turnout

Alex Stevenson, 'MPs just admitted they're doing it wrong', Politics.co.uk, 14 November 2014 http://www.politics.co.uk/comment-analysis/2014/11/14/politicians-just-admitted-they-re-doing-it-wrong

Kevin Schofield, 'Make election days a national holiday to boost turnout', The Sun, 14 November 2014 http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/politics/6088381/Make-election-days-a-national-holiday-to-boost-turnout.html

Eddie Buckle, 'UK Should Consider Votes at 16 Lawmakers Suggest', Bloomberg, 14 November 2014 http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-11-14/u-k-should-consider-votes-at-16-lawmakers-suggest.html

Paul Tyler, 'Voter engagement and Votes at 16: progress!', Liberal Democrat Voice, 14 November 2014 http://www.libdemvoice.org/paul-tyler-writes-voter-engagement-and-votes-at-16-progress-43328.html

Jonathan Werran, 'Devolve to re-engage voters, MPs urge', The MJ, 14 November 2014 http://themj.co.uk/Devolve-to-re-engage-voters-MPs-urge/198827  

Chris Ship, 'MPs call for compulsory voting and a lower voting age', ITV News, 14 November 2014 http://www.itv.com/news/2014-11-14/mps-call-for-compulsory-voting-and-to-lower-the-voting-age/

Webroots Democracy, 'Report Urges for Online Voting by 2020 Election', Webroots Democracy, 14 November 2014 http://webrootsdemocracy.org/2014/11/14/report-urges-for-online-voting-by-2020-election/