Ministers to tackle apathy of electorate

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The Independent Online

Compulsory voting is being considered by the Home Office as one move to tackle growing apathy among the electorate that was reflected in the poor turn-outs for European and local elections.

Compulsory voting is being considered by the Home Office as one move to tackle growing apathy among the electorate that was reflected in the poor turn-outs for European and local elections.

MPs were told yesterday that Home Office ministers will raise the issue with party leaders at their next cross-party meeting and there could be plans for a wider public debate.

Ministers are looking at other countries where compulsory voting has worked, including Australia where it ensured a high turn-out in the referendum to keep the Queen as head of state.

Last night there was a sceptical reaction from the Tories. "We don't like compulsion. The way Downing Street works, they would probably make it an offence to vote the wrong way," one senior Tory source said.

The pressure for a public debate on compulsory voting came from the cross-party Select Committee on Home Affairs, which recommended the Government should keep in mind the much higher rate of voting in democracies where such a system operated.

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