A vote marred by a bad experiment and public apathy

Share
Related Topics

The final results from the mélange of elections that took place yesterday will not emerge until Sunday, but one thing is already clear: many of those entitled to vote didn't bother. The sad fact is that many Britons are increasingly disengaged from the political process, whether on a local or national level, and cannot see the point in taking that short trip to the polling station to perform their democratic duty, whether the elections are for their local council or the European Parliament.

The final results from the mélange of elections that took place yesterday will not emerge until Sunday, but one thing is already clear: many of those entitled to vote didn't bother. The sad fact is that many Britons are increasingly disengaged from the political process, whether on a local or national level, and cannot see the point in taking that short trip to the polling station to perform their democratic duty, whether the elections are for their local council or the European Parliament.

There are a number of factors behind this malaise. It is too simplistic to blame the complexity of the modern voting process. Some suggested that the sheer number of votes people would be asked to cast in yesterday's various elections - as many as five for Londoners - would be confusing and off-putting. But, in the end, the ballot papers were rationally laid out, the instructions clear, the fuss nonsensical. What's more, the variety of candidates and voting systems in play yesterday meant that people could cast their votes in a subtler and more sophisticated manner than under the rigid first past the post format used in general elections. In voting, as so many other areas, choice is to be welcomed.

That is not to say that every innovation on "Super Thursday" was a success. The fiasco in which vast sections of the population were only allowed to vote in advance by post was a disaster. The scheme was cynically conceived and incompetently executed. By concentrating the experiment on the north of the country, Labour was blatantly trying to get its core vote out. Whatever benefit it may have had in boosting the turnout, these gains will only come at considerable cost to the integrity of the system. This sort of gerrymandering undermines the political process and helps foster contempt for politicians, many of whom are trying their best to do a difficult job.

It is, however, vital to experiment with ways to increase the vote. Trials of electronic voting are inevitable, but, bearing in mind the postal voting debacle, must be carefully handled in a non-partisan manner. And whatever the results of yesterday's elections, we share a daunting struggle to make the political process connect with more of the electorate.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Read Next
David Cameron faces the press as he arrives in Brussels for the EU leaders summit on Thursday reuters  

On the Tusk of a dilemma: Cameron's latest EU renegotiation foe

Andrew Grice
John Profumo and his wife Valerie Robson in 1959  

Stephen Ward’s trial was disgraceful. There can be no justification for it

Geoffrey Robertson QC
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas