Election Universe

Advocacy group hopes i-Voting will improve turnout in UK

Advocacy group hopes i-Voting will improve turnout in UK
October 28 2014, 17:59

In a trend that is being observed in most democracies around the world, the United Kingdom is also struggling with increasing voter apathy.  A study has found out that while voter turnout peaked in 1950 when 82% of the electorate voted, it has since been in  steep decline.

By 1983, participation had dived to 72%, and while it went up in 1987 and 1992, the overall turnout across the country decreased from 71% in 1997 to 59.3% in 2001.

As elections experts grapple with the phenomenon, a pressure group is suggesting that it might just have the cure for such an electoral malady. WebRoots Democracy, an independent, non-partisan organization, is campaigning  for the introduction of an online voting option in Local and General Elections in the United Kingdom.

The group believes that technology has advanced far enough to give voters the ultimate convenience of casting their votes remotely, online.

“We are an organisation that intends to reverse growing political apathy and low electoral turnout in the UK, particularly amongst young people. Whilst political apathy has a variety of causes, we recognise that we live in an age of distraction and rapid technological advances. As such, we are also campaigning for an accessible, informative, and interactive election website to help reach out to new voters,” says Areeq Chowdhury of Webroot Democracy in the group’s website.

While Chowdhury does not think online voting is a silver bullet, he believes it will enable millions of the current population (in addition to the future more digital population) have their voice heard in the political process.

“We live in a society that increasingly turns to email instead of the Royal Mail, is banking online instead of queuing offline, and is communicating with each other at unprecedented levels,” he continues.

In addition to this, Chowdhury says that internet voting is a technology that is acceptable among tens of millions of UK citizens as evidenced by widespread use of social media, online banking, and  online shopping.

Regarding questions of risk and security, Chowdhuri is confident that these will be overcome and that the benefits have been immense.

The group is working with youth organisations, disability charities, academics, electronic voting providers, political parties, politicians, and other public individuals to achieve the aims of its campaign.

Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee, at FreeDigitalPhotos.net