The recent police and crime commissioner (PCC) elections and the Corby by-election in the UK has once again raised the issue of supposed voter apathy.
The lowest turnout was 11.6% with the average being 15%. The turnout for the by-election was 44.8% (which includes spoiled votes).
While all will agree that the PCC turnout was awful and an investigation is underway some have said the 44.8% for Corby wasn’t too bad.
The question is what percentage makes a legitimate vote? Surely if less than 50% turnout then there is no mandate to represent the constituency.
So, what is the problem?
Lack of awareness? Lack of details and/or explanation? General voter apathy? All have been banded about and some have of course said that it’s a combination but one thing that has been lacking has been any real idea of a solution.
In order to legitimise the elections and confirm that we really do live in a democracy (don’t get me started on the monarchy and house of lords) more than 50% of the constituency must vote for a party (either as first choice or second etc) so really for this to happen everyone must vote (otherwise anyone getting elected would be almost impossible).
If compulsory voting was implemented it must be in conjunction with an option for ‘none of the above’. One of the potential reasons for the low turnouts of recent years could be purely that all the options are crap and genuinely don’t represent peoples views and opinions. If this is the case then through the ballot it must be found out so that it can be rectified as soon as possible.
Compulsory voting made easy and convenient (think chip & pin and/or internet banking) with an option for ‘none of the above’ using the single transferable vote (STV) electoral system.