Historically, the post-World War II UK General Elections voter turnout fell between 70-80 percent of the associated voting population making it one of the highest politically engaged nations in the Western world trailing only Italy and Belgium. In comparison, the United States…
Thus, it came as a surprise when the 2001 and 2005 elections voter turnout statistics was announced.
In the 2001 General Elections, voter turnout fell to a historic through of 59.4 percent followed by a slight increase of 61.3 percent in the 2005 elections. The 2001 results alone sent shockwaves throughout the British media and the political system. In a 2004 report by baston and Ritchie for the Electoral Reform Society entitled ‘Turning Out or Turning Off’, the authors opened with a note that the turnout of 3 out of 5 electors was the worst in its post-war record. The last time that the turnout results registered this percentage was in 1918 where many of the registered voters were just beginning to return after the end of World War I. For the first time since 1923, the total number of those who did not exercise their voting rights was larger than the number of voters that determined the winning party. Knowing all of this statistics, the British political system became worried and there was much generated fanfare. The main concern over the 2005 elections was not who won for what seat. Instead, it was how many cared to participate in the elections.
Why is it that British voters are not turning up in polls? There are different, though not necessarily unrelated, theories explaining this social phenomena. Voter turnout is considered to be an index which can be used to assess the state of democracy in the country concerned. A decline in voter turnout can be considered as a decline in democracy. It can indicate that the political system is becoming authoritative and imposing such that the people are dissuaded or inhibited in exercising their voting rights. The legitimacy of the government is put into question because the decrease may imply lack of representation of certain groups. (Rose, 1997)
Another plausible explanation is that it is due to the dissatisfaction of ...
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