Why at a time of increasing disengagement from the political process in a democratic society, are British citizens in general not more actively encouraged, or indeed inspired in the case of the younger generation, to vote?
In the case of British citizens overseas, the cost element and lack of knowledge of this particular voter base would appear major reasons for the lack of direct outreach programmes and associated canvassing, to improve turnout levels for those still qualified to vote within the current 15-year-limit.
Indeed, the latest example of likely low turnout from the effect of a lack of engagement with the British electorate, would seem to concern the new elections planned in November for Police & Crime Commissioners (PCCs) and for which the Electoral Reform Society is currently projecting a turnout of less than 20%.This would be even less than the poor turnout of 31% for the local elections in May, which itself was down from the 35% turnout in 2008 (see 2012-English-locals-election-report-web of the Electoral Commission).
The PCC election process, therefore, does not currently present a good example of local democracy in action unless actual voter turnout levels on the day prove otherwise. As for the May 2012 local government elections, however, should turnout again be poor the local electorate will still live with the “democratic” outcome; they will keep their democratic right to choose to vote or not, irrespective of turnout levels.
It seems illogical then that the current low turnout level of British voters overseas, for which the postal vote has been determined as inadequate, is still used as an excuse to disenfranchise those who want to continue to vote (eg by proxy) in UK national elections, even after 15 years abroad.
If you agree, please demonstrate this by voting your support in our on-line poll here.
You can also register to vote (if still qualified under the 15-year-rule ) via the Electoral Commisson website www.aboutmyvote.co.uk.