COMMONS

Committee launches survey on changes to voting arrangements

02 December 2014

MPs ask the public for their views on what changes to electoral arrangements would be most effective at boosting voter engagement

The Political and Constitutional Reform Committee launches a survey asking the public for their views on how voting arrangements should be reformed.

Launching the survey, Graham Allen MP, Chair, 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 interim report on voter engagement—which we published last month—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 are launching this survey to find out what the public thinks about the proposals we are looking at, so we can put forward the best recommendations possible in a final report ahead of the 2015 general election.”

The proposals the Committee is asking for views on include:

  • Extending the franchise to 16 and 17 year olds
  • Letting voters cast their vote online
  • Making voting compulsory
  • Including the option to vote for “none of the above” on the ballot paper
  • Being able to register to vote up to and on Election Day
  • Holding elections at the weekend, or making Election Day a public holiday

The Committee plans to produce a final report on voter engagement in the New Year, informed by the results of this survey. The survey will close on Friday 9 January 2015.

Other ways to contribute

The Committee has invited written evidence on any or all of the conclusions and recommendations set out in its interim report on voter engagement (on pages 82 to 94). The deadline for written submissions is Friday 9 January 2015.

Written evidence on the Proposals on voter engagement should be submitted online:

Contribute via social media

Use #VoterReform to tweet your views and contribute to the debate online.

The Chair of the Committee, Graham Allen MP(@GrahamAllenMP), will be hosting a live Twitter chat on Wednesday 17 December, from 4-5pm. Please join us!

Image: iStockphoto

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