The government should consider weekend voting to increase turnout


9:05 pm - January 1st 2011

by Mark Pack    


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The political reform agenda is likely to be dominated by a spring referendum on the alternative vote and a promise to bring proportional representation to the House of Lords.

But there are two much smaller ideas the government should look to pilot during the year; 2011 should see weekend voting and increasing the number of polling stations tested out.

Raising turnout in public elections is a widely shared aimed that rapidly runs into two difficulties.

First, though people across parties usually share a general support for higher turnout, when it comes to targeting people living in specific areas or from specific communities, raising turnout rapidly comes with an obvious electoral impact to the advantage or disadvantage of particular candidates and parties.

As a result, state-funded efforts to raise turnout tend to be at the rather general and bland level rather than getting into the sort of individual contact and marketing that you get in other areas.

The second problem is that – courtesy of a long series of pilots tried out during Tony Blair’s time as Prime Minister – we know that an awful lot of ideas do not do much, if anything, to raise turnout. Early voting in supermarkets, voting by text, online voting and many more were tried out – and all failed to raise turnout by any significant degree except for one: mandatory all-postal voting.

That has a major impact on turnout but comes with other questions about fraud and freedom within a household to vote as you wish.

Weekend voting has been once briefly trialled (in Watford a decade ago). It was not a success then, but there are good reasons to try again given the details of how the trial was conducted – especially holding the weekend elections just after the usual national round of local elections, with the result that residents in Watford were seeing in all the national and regional media about how local elections had just taken place.

The Electoral Commission has give the issue a gentle nudge now and again too, pointing out for example that in the 2009 elections, “Thirty-six per cent of non-voters said they would be more likely to vote if they had the choice to vote at a weekend”.

2011 is a chance to put all those beliefs and thoughts to the test with a few well chosen pilots, most likely in council by-elections.

Increasing the number of polling stations is a greatly under-researched area, and has not ever been tested directly in Britain. However, aside from the common-sense thought that shorter travel distance to polling stations may increase likelihood to vote, there is also some practical evidence.

An analysis of voters in Brent over 20 years found: “we conclude that the local geography of the polling station can have a significant impact on voter turnout and that there should be a more strategic approach to the siting of polling stations”. Research in the US also points to a similar conclusion. (hat-tip Stuart Wilks-Heeg)

It may be that neither weekend voting nor more polling stations raises turnout. But there is good reason to believe that they may – and neither comes with the drawbacks of mandatory all postal voting nor with the well-established track-record of failure of internet and mobile phone voting.

If the government wants to do more than issue vague exhortations to people to vote, it should put both these ideas to the test.

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About the author
Mark works at Blue Rubicon and lectures at City University. He also edits Liberal Democrat Newswire - the monthly newsletter about the Liberal Democrats. He is co-author, 101 Ways To Win An Election and blogs here.
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Reader comments


If you can’t be bothered to get off your backside and go down the local polling station or apply for a postal vote then frankly I don’t want you having a say over how the country is run.

@1 Tough shit son, that’s not how a democracy is supposed to work.

There is no particular reason – apart from economy – to restrict a poll to one day.

Sunday-Monday polls would have the advantage of including a weekend day when few work, and of those who do, many will have monday off.

Two days are better than one, especially for those who may be ill, or not fancy the weather on the first day.

I guess at least another 3% would vote, worth the expense imho.

Or, y’know, give the voters something worth voting for. A radical idea, I’m sure… 😉

I’m your regular, traditional floating voter – except that sometimes, as in 2005 – I’ve been so disgusted with the main political parties that I very deliberately chose not to vote.

IMO it’s no accident that turnout at the last three general elections has been low by historic standards:
http://www.ukpolitical.info/Turnout45.htm

Successive surveys have shown that politicians are held in low esteem by the public at large

Estate agents and politicians among least trusted professions
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/5085369/Estate-agents-and-politicians-among-least-trusted-professions.html

In the light of this revelation last February, that is hardly surprising:

More than half of MPs have been found guilty of over-claiming on their parliamentary expenses.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/7161198/More-than-half-of-MPs-guilty-of-over-claiming-expenses.html

@ BobB

The expenses issue was widely exploited tendentiously by the extreme right, like the Jersey based owners of the Telegraph. To them no MPs would be better than fairly honest ones, which is pretty much what we have had.

Until 2005 or so MPs Expenses were known as Allowances and the Fees Office encouraged them to claim up, because their pay increases had long been held back pour encourager les autres and allowances were regarded as fit and proper compensation.

I do not say that the culture of which Expenses were a part was the best, but is is comprehensible in its historical context, exploitable by those who don’t like representative democracy, like the foreign/Jersey based billionaires who lead our national media.

They don’t want us to vote either: lethargy and cynicism are among their best friends.

Nice ideas, Mark.

Perhaps we should add a “None of the Above” option on ballots to let people express the disgust @5. Bob B describes.

Not voting means your act can be dismissed as laziness; spoiling the ballot, as ignorance; a clear “None of the Above” would send out an unambiguous message that might put pressure on politicians of every party to take their promises and duties to the electorate a little more seriously.

@ TimHardy

People Do write “None of the above” and all spoilt ballots are counted.

An election is a means of selecting a representative, not simply an expression of opinion.

I agree, weekend voting should be trialled again properly to see if it can have a positive impact on turnout.

With polling station location – results are not clear-cut. This study showed that those voter’s furthest away were more likely to vote: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0962-6298(03)00029-5

I think local discretion and local knowledge are paramount with polling stations.

@Quietzaple

I certainly don’t regard myself as influenced by the “extreme right” – and I could easily have voted for some “right-wing” candidate in 2005 had I been so inclined. However, I’ve really felt outraged not only by the expenses scandal but by the way successive Parliamentary standards watchdogs have been treated by Parliament:

Elizabeth Filkin’s departure from her role as parliament’s sleaze watchdog is as mired in controversy as most of her time in the job.

Having won her appointment in February 1999 Ms Filkin’s investigations into Keith Vaz are said to have prompted whispering campaign attacking her reputation.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/1693721.stm

Tony Blair has effectively sacked Sir Alistair Graham, a trenchant critic of the Government’s ethical standards, as head of the sleaze watchdog.

Sir Alistair will step down as chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life when his contract ends in April after the Prime Minister personally intervened to ensure that he left as soon as possible, leaving the body without a successor.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article1512099.ece

As best I can gather, the expenses hiatus seems to have been stoked by the ambiguities and vague drafting in the expenses regime introduced in 2006 by an all-party commission under the chairmanship of Speaker Martin.

The instructive insight is that while the primary function of MPs is to serve as legislators many dozen run second jobs as lawyers – who really ought to be hot stuff on stamping out badly drafted laws, rules and regulations.

Draw the logical conclusions

I’d be in favour of a two-day voting period; either a whole weekend or as someone above says, a Sunday+Monday. But I’d also like to see:

a) An end to the ridiculous rush to count votes and “be first” to declare. A democratic election should be a serious, careful process, not a puerile game. The sight of people rushing election boxes in and rushing to count votes gives me no confidence in the process – although I accept it’s highly unlikely to have affected any single result. But having a two day process means it’s slower and less of a game – so two days to vote with counting not starting until the third day.

b) Which then brings me on to wishing to avoid what happened at the last election immediately following election day – I see no reason why the new government should have to take office the following day, assuming that is that a government can be formed. Why can’t the government officially take control say a week after election day. That gives time for a coalition to be formed, a sensible hand-over to take place, ministers to be appointed, etc.

So yes, let’s change the “big bang” approach we currently have for something more suited to today’s world. Can’t even see the need to “trial” weekend voting – just do it!!

@ BobB

The political culture in this country is largely formed by those employed by the foreign based billionaires to whom I referred, they influence us all. Opinions are a massive industry; the BBc etc invite such as Andrew Pierce on to tell most of us what to think.

The Westminster culture changed as I suggested: it was not largely a matter of drafting. MPs were used to not getting pay rises comparable to those who work in industry or the rest of the public sector. Allowances which became expenses were the compensation.

I broadly speaking agree with Hawkeye re counts and taking time over forming an new government. I suspect that events might sometimes intervene.

The Election Night razzmatazz is entertainment, which is why MPs and politicos are mostly so keen on it. Tom Harris blog made this quite clear.

However boring I prefer to see this downplayed myself.

@12. Quietzaple

The pay of British MPs puts them in the top few percent of the UK earnings distribution according to this assessment of Chris Dillow at Stumbling and Mumbling:

“It’s insufficiently appreciated just how well paid MPs are. Their annual salary is £64,766. According to the IFS, a single person on this income is in the top 3% of earners. If he has a partner earning £30,000 a year, this couple is also in the top 3% of household incomes.”
http://stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com/stumbling_and_mumbling/2009/05/its-insufficiently-appreciated-just-how-well-paid-mps-are-their-annual-salary-is-64766-according-to-the-ifs-a-single-pe.html

And in historic context:
http://stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com/stumbling_and_mumbling/2009/05/mps-pay-in-historic-context.html

And besides most MPs have well-paid second jobs as well:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/5666311/Revealed-MPs-pay-from-second-jobs.html

The actively cultivated notion that MPs are badly paid for what they do is a complete myth. The electorate has a right to expect honest dealing by MPs and that is not what we are getting – which is why we are seeing the relatively low turnouts at recent general elections.

@8. Quietzaple

Yes, but the number of spoiled ballots is not widely publicised in the way that, say, an overwhelming majority vote for “None of the Above” might have in a seat. Moreover, while some people do act this way, I think more people would be tempted to do so if it were an explicit option on the ballot paper and there was an expectation that this was allowed.

@ Bob B

Legislators in many other countries – let alone MEPs – are far better paid.

The Foreign Billionaires would be very happy to pay our MPs and save the public purse entirely.

Historically MPs almost always had “interests” which means that they represented those who paid them for listening to them, or owned factories or estates.

Richard Drax in S Dorset is now an MP. His interests in Parliament and Committee membership reflects his position as a landowner. Few in his constituency share those concerns to such a degree.

The register of Members’ Interests is rarely publicised by the billionaire media, is it?

@ Tim Hardy

Perhaps it should be made clear that spoiling the ballot is allowed, although abuse is not.

The ballot is part of a process to choose a representative however, and putting it to this other purpose so deliberatively reduces the focus.

A referendum on various constitutional matters might refer to this perhaps?

@m17. Quietzaple

“The ballot is part of a process to choose a representative however, and putting it to this other purpose so deliberatively reduces the focus.”

Exactly. The issue here is that significant numbers of citizens are failing to choose a representative because they feel that none of the candidates represent them or their interests – this option allows the voter to state that. I understand your concern that it requires a slightly less literal interpretation of the act of voting but I feel the option would act as pressure to make the entire voting process more representational.

16. Quietzaple: “Legislators in many other countries – let alone MEPs – are far better paid.”

Perhaps they do better jobs in those other places, with greater integrity and competence and mostly don’t have second, well-paid jobs in addition to their work as legislators.

The poorly drafted regime for MPs’ expenses, introduced in 2006 after an all-party commission under the chairmanship of Speaker Martin, doesn’t suggest that MPs are even competent at their basic function of scrutinising drafts of laws, rules and regulations. It’s hardly surprising that MPs are generally held in low public esteem.

To enhance the standing of Parliament, we should be pushing for comprehensive electoral reform, perhaps along the lines proposed by the Jenkins Commission in 1998 – AV Plus:
http://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/article.php?id=56

Or the single transferable vote system (STV) with multi-member constituencies:
http://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/article.php?id=48

The great advantage of multi-member constituencies is that constituents have a regular choice of local representatives on whom they can call and are much less likely to get lumbered with loyal party dumbos – or crooks.

@9 Jason Thanks for the link to that paper, which I’d not seen. From the abstract, however, it looks as distant to polling station does have an impact – but that other factors (such as ease of travel and rural versus urban) can over-ride that?

Switching election polling day from Thursday to Sunday – Saturday is out because that would interfer with football – is just tinkering.

Most now recognise that our FPTP electoral system means that general elections are decided by the outcomes in only about 100 marginal constituencies – and the mainstream political parties pile resources into those constituencies, as we’ve seen with Lord Ashcroft’s generous donations to Conservative constituency parties in marginals where the Conservatives could win in the May election.

What happens in the other 400+ constituencies didn’t matter – the results in those constituencies was a foregone conclusion. The electorates there didn’t matter.

In no sense does the FPTP electoral system produce a representative Parliament so with that and the expenses scandal, it’s little wonder that many voters have become completely cynical about politics and Parliament.

The regular practice of Blair’s governments to bypass Parliament by first making important policy announcements to other, more friendly audiences where there was little prospect of effective criticism simply stoked the growing impression of the public that Parliament has become an expensive charade.

Why bother to vote?

2 – Actually, that’s how it currently does work.

Lots of people don’t vote.

Hmm, and why actually is this a problem? If lots of people simply couldn’t give a shit about who collects the rubbish, who organises society’s scut work like the police, the courts, defence and so on, why is that actually a problem?

One that needs a solution?

@22 That’s how the current system works, yes. However I clearly said that’s not how a democracy is supposed to work, make of that statement what you will.

http://paperbackrioter.wordpress.com/2010/08/08/the-democratic-republic-of-britain-guest-post/

More polling stations would require more staff….Unless the model in the UK is outdated, of course, and the idea of having primary schools and churches open all day Thursday is the only way to conduct an election.

If the idea of e-voting makes people shudder, why not ask newsagents or chippys or landlords to allow voting? No extra staff required, only minimal extra cost, and ties in with the ‘big society’ model?

25

Or we could just go the whole hog and ask ITV to take it over and have Simon Cowell organise it….

…… or perhaps not 😉

Tim,

Lots of people don’t vote.

Hmm, and why actually is this a problem? If lots of people simply couldn’t give a shit about who collects the rubbish, who organises society’s scut work like the police, the courts, defence and so on, why is that actually a problem?

One that needs a solution?

People do give a shit. Trouble is, they don’t think their votes count – and a lot of them are right. That’s why they don’t bother to vote.

This is all good stuff but fundamentally is fiddling while Rome burns – last May just over half the population bothered to turn out to vote in one of the most closely fought, highly charged elections of my lifetime. They didn’t not bother because it was inconvenient, they didn’t bother because:

1. They weren’t registered to vote in the first place (4 in 10 of 18-24 year olds are not even registers and fewer than half of private tenants)
2. They really couldn’t be bothered – voting for one besuited politician or another isn’t going to make their lives better
3. There was nothing – nobody – to vote for. The old ‘it doesn’t matter who I vote for the government always gets in’ argument
4. Something more interesting came up – a TV programme, a visit to relatives, and quantity of alcohol
5. A genuine situation – injury, ill-health, business emergency, personal crisis etc – arose and the individual wasn’t able to vote.

In truth, so long as we make it convenient and accessible (and 14 hours plus PVs on demand), people have the opportunity to vote and if they choose not to do so, that’s their problem not a wider issue.

People aren’t so dumb – they just don’t see any connection between electing a given politician and the public services they receive. So why bother?

29. Mike Killingworth

Either you make voting compulsory (as the Aussies do) or you don’t. If you do, the day of the week you hold the election on is irrelevant. If you don’t, why do you take an interest in the size of the turn-out?

Mike,

Either you make voting compulsory (as the Aussies do) or you don’t. If you do, the day of the week you hold the election on is irrelevant. If you don’t, why do you take an interest in the size of the turn-out?

What makes you say the day is irrelevant?

According to this document‘s “multiple regression analysis explaining 59.1% of
the variance in turnout in 233 national elections from 1945 to
April 2002”, “calling elections on a rest day raises turnout by 3.9 percentage points, net of other influences”.

31. Mike Killingworth

[30] I’m not aware of any country with compulsory voting which does not poll at the week-end.

If we want more people to vote and we surely do because it increases the legitimacy of the winning candidate. People respond to incentives. Therefore, pay people to vote. Voting in local and European elections could have a system of a tax credit each time one votes towards the following years tax liability or an end of year bonus for those on benefits. For a general election there could be a cash payment or supermarket voucher of twenty quid or so for voting. Now for most people twenty quid is not going to make much difference to their lives. However, for some people especially those who are not even registered to vote an inducement could make a difference in their marginal decision.

Mike,

[30] I’m not aware of any country with compulsory voting which does not poll at the week-end.

Oh, if you’re unaware then you must be right.

The figure given for rest days is net of other influences.

(The figure for compulsory voting is 5.3%.)

34. Charlieman

@21 Bob B: “Switching election polling day from Thursday to Sunday – Saturday is out because that would interfer with football – is just tinkering.”

Major national football games are unusual on Thursdays. However, Thursday is popular for international games. Given a typical English performance, this is unlikely to affect GE turnout.

35. Charlieman

The first question to ask is whether current voting arrangements are a barrier to participation.

Overall, the answer is no:
* In urban areas, polling stations are relatively local and accessible (almost all schools and church halls are wheel chair accessible).
* Postal votes are available on demand. A postal vote can be requested during the election campaign period.
* Voter registration is not a once-per-year thing. Registration is permitted at any time, including the election campaign period.

Known problems are:
* Polling stations may be undersized to cope with unexpected demand, as observed in some locations at the GE.
* Postal and proxy voting are particularly vulnerable to fraud.
* Registration of pets as voters.

Given that the barrier to voting (in person, by proxy or by post) is so low, increased turnout can only be achieved by increasing the democratic incentive. If people believe that voting makes a difference, they participate.

@35 Charlieman (and others)

There’s a value judgement about whether or not higher turnout is desirable, but you’ve also stated as if it’s a rock-solid fact that, “turnout can only be achieved by increasing the democratic incentive”.

However, there is evidence that some (though not all) means of making voting easier does increase turnout, such as in the two studies I linked to from my article and in the experiences with postal voting.

So what’s your reason for rejecting all that evidence and saying turnout can “only” be increased by improving the democratic incentive?

37. Charlieman

@36 Mark Pack: “However, there is evidence that some (though not all) means of making voting easier does increase turnout, such as in the two studies I linked to from my article and in the experiences with postal voting.”

If turnout per se is important, the figures to look at are where we are today (the exceptional 65% in 2010) and where we used to be (75%+). Some stats are available at http://www.ukpolitical.info/Turnout45.htm.

In contrast with previous years, the 2010 GE campaign was vigorous (at least at a national level) which probably accounts for the slight increase compared to 2001 and 2005. But decline in turnout is a long term trend and technological fixes will only deliver a short term reversal.

The UK link on polling station location is a good one, but it states that proximity has greatest effect in local and European elections. However situating polling stations more appropriately cannot be a bad thing.

I am unconvinced that weekend voting will make a significant difference. (Anyone can vote at the weekend already by obtaining a postal ballot.) You admitted at LibDemVoice: “Early voting – allowing people to vote on other days at a limited range of locations, ahead of a conventional Thursday polling day – has been tried and failed, which suggests that making the time and place of voting more convenient may not be that helpful. That is not the same as weekend voting though, so some hard evidence on the matter is needed.”

I can’t see how these two measures will increase turnout by 10% and more. I don’t have philosophical objection to change; I simply don’t think that it will make a difference to how people view the political process.

I agree my statement that “increased turnout can only be achieved” is hyperbole. Tech fixes may achieve a temporary reversal. But long term reversal requires change to the democratic (or participatory) incentive. Voting has to mean something to those who have opted out.

@20 Mark Pack: Exactly! Geographic factors are vital so a national-level policy on polling stations might be counter-productive. What I love about that study is how it shows some living furthest from polling stations are more likely to vote.

I agree my statement that “increased turnout can only be achieved” is hyperbole. Tech fixes may achieve a temporary reversal. But long term reversal requires change to the democratic (or participatory) incentive. Voting has to mean something to those who have opted out.

Quite.

As Bob B said, “Switching election polling day from Thursday to Sunday … is just tinkering”.

It’s absolutely predictable. Prison riot, MPs expenses scandal, another NHS debacle, soaring complaints about banks, low turnout at elections etc, and up will pop some minister to announce yet another instant inquiry or policy review.

Like most folks, I guess, I’ve long since lost track of how many ensuing inquiries and reviews are currently in progress but have come to believe that the real purpose of these many inquiries is not to uncover some previously undiscovered truths. The real purpose is to stifle debate while we await the outcome of the inquiry in the reasonable expectation that most will have forgotten what it was all about when the results of the inquiry eventually surface in the fulness of time.

That said, I think we have reached a situation where the very purpose, effectiveness and integrity of Parliamentary government is being frequently questioned. There is now a compounding case for a high-level review conducted by a truly-independent commission into the reform of Parliamentary government for the future. But don’t hold your breath.

@28. Simon Cooke

They weren’t registered to vote in the first place (4 in 10 of 18-24 year olds are not even register[ed] and fewer than half of private tenants)

That’s very interesting.

According to Shelter 44 per cent of homes in the private rented sector in England fail to meet the Government’s Decent Home Standard. [source: CLG, English Housing Survey Headline Report 2008-9] The assured shorthold tenancy, widely used within the private sector provides tenants with little security. As a result, many tenants avoid complaining about disrepair and damp, for fear of eviction.
[http://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_issues/Improving_private_renting]

Insecure, private tenancies is also the bleak prospect facing most 18-24 year olds, many of whom believe that they may never be able to afford a home.

When people feel that they have so little control over the circumstances of their own lives that they dare not even ask the landlord to fix a broken window, is it any wonder that they have little faith that a vote will change anything? It’s a form of learned helplessness.

I suspect that too many people feel (to borrow @23. Tim Worstall’s phrase) that it is the politicians who couldn’t give a shit about them. Let’s face it, that’s the dominant narrative of the media and it is not hard to find examples that make it appear true. As @37 Charlieman says, technical changes need to be accompanied by cultural changes.

It was only a few years back that the UK Department of Constitutional Affairs was hailing electronic voting as the way of the future for increasing engagement in politics. Here is a summary of the report on implementing electronic voting (2002):
http://www.dca.gov.uk/elections/e-voting/pdf/e-summary.pdf

But not too many are pushing electronic voting now. This is probably one of the main reasons why:

One of the world’s leading experts on electronic voting is warning the government that computer polls cannot be trusted.

Rebecca Mercuri, assistant professor of computer science at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, is meeting officials at the Cabinet Office on Thursday.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/2336023.stm

@Richard W

“pay people to vote”

This is an appalling idea.

“pay people to vote”

What’s new? Politicians at elections have often promised tax cuts or additional welfare benefits if only their party is electted to government.

Britain’s welfare state was based on the prospect painted in the Beveridge Report of 1942 that the population would be protected “from the cradle to the grave”. That aspiration caught on.

As @37 Charlieman says, technical changes need to be accompanied by cultural changes.

The cultural change that would make a huge difference is to change the perception about what difference voting actually makes. We could change that perception by changing our voting system.

Nearly a third of voters did not vote for the parties that make up the current government! That’s a huge chunk of the population to feel unrepresented.

Turnout is lower in part because ‘the big problems’ have been solved, we are fighting over the centre ground. But there are a lot of people who want to vote but think their vote is worthless – like the constituents in the safe seats Bob mentioned earlier.

About safe seats – see this for a database of constituencies rated as safw: “The Electoral Reform Society says over half of seats at the election are safe.”
http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/apr/07/election-safe-seats-electoral-reform

There are other issues besides the predictability of the outcome at elections in your constituency.

With single-member constituencies you are stuck with the elected member, who has a job for life, unless they are deselected, serious issues arise over expenses or (s)he is convicted of a felony and is obliged to resign. But suppose you regard the elected member as a party-hack or dumbo or you know in advance that they will be unsympathetic to your cause. You’ve no other choice. And, from experience, MPs or their offices are very particular about even reading case letters from writers who aren’t their constituents.

It’s not really surprising that many regard Parliament, party politics and voting as institutions which are irrelevant to their interests.

43. Trooper Thompson

@Richard W

“pay people to vote”

” This is an appalling idea.”

It is so appalling that strangely enough it is what every employer does to get employees to turn up for work. Self-evidently they have more success in getting people to the workplace than civil society does in getting people to the polling station. People do what they are incentivised to do and if they have no incentive to vote they will not vote. So by all means appeal to their better natures with predictable results.

48. Chaise Guevara

@ 47 Richard W

Yes, but paying people to vote does not in any way incentivise them to actually bone up on the relevant issues before doing so – why bother if you’re only turning up to get twenty quid or some Tesco vouchers? Encouraging more people to engage with politics and vote accordingly is one thing; bribing people into voting ignorantly is quite another.

Richard W,

I would say the use of money to incentivise voting would be the final acknowledgement that our political system is irredeemably, morally bankrupt.

Coming from a country where all elections are held on Sundays (Germany), I think it does have a positive effect on turnout. And it enables families to go voting together, in connection with their afternoon walk, which is a good way to introduce their children to the idea of voting. I remember being taken to the polling station by my parents at an early age already and it might well have contributed to my hightened interest in politics.


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    RT @sunny_hundal: Government should consider weekend voting & more polling stations to increase turnout says @markpack http://bit.ly/hbkcKO

  14. Ian

    RT @sunny_hundal: Government should consider weekend voting & more polling stations to increase turnout says @markpack http://bit.ly/hbkcKO

  15. Spir.Sotiropoulou

    The government should consider weekend voting to increase turnout | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/edFBbZD via @libcon

  16. Ian

    RT @libcon: The government should consider weekend voting to increase turnout http://bit.ly/hbkcKO

  17. Tory Totty Online

    RT @libcon: The government should consider weekend voting to increase turnout http://bit.ly/hbkcKO

  18. PRO Legal

    The government should consider weekend voting to increase turnout …: Sir Alistair will step down as chairman o… http://bit.ly/fJL1G5

  19. Anne Peat

    RT @sunny_hundal: Government should consider weekend voting & more polling stations to increase turnout says @markpack http://bit.ly/hbkcKO

  20. Andrew Alan Emmerson

    RT @sunny_hundal: Government should consider weekend voting & more polling stations to increase turnout says @markpack http://bit.ly/hbkcKO

  21. The Caring Grandma

    RT @sunny_hundal: Government should consider weekend voting & more polling stations to increase turnout says @markpack http://bit.ly/hbkcKO

  22. Cllr John Potter

    RT @sunny_hundal: Government should consider weekend voting & more polling stations to increase turnout says @markpack http://bit.ly/hbkcKO

  23. The two electoral tests the Coalition should run

    […] A shorter version of this post previously appeared on Liberal Conspiracy […]

  24. The two electoral tests the Coalition should run | Mark Pack

    […] it should put both these ideas to the test.A shorter version of this post previously appeared on Liberal Conspiracy« Previewing 2011 on The Westminster HourThe power of Twitter: reaching people who reach other […]





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