Should Voting Be Compulsory For Uk General Elections?

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Should voting be compulsory in UK general elections?

In 2001, Gareth Thomas, a Labour MP for Harrow West for the past 18 years introduced a Private Members’ Bill for compulsory voting. However it did not progress beyond its first reading. Yet the question has not died out and whether the UK should follow the likes of Australia and Belgium still remains a hotly debated issue.

The UK prides itself in being a leading force for democracy worldwide. It is thought to have become truly democratic in 1918 with the passing of the Representation of the Peoples Act whereby universal suffrage was cemented in statute law. In the election afterwards in 1922, participation soared to over 70%, and peaked in 1950 at 83.9%. Since then, the …show more content…

Both of these reasons can be supported due to the current voting system in the UK. First-past-the-post requires candidates or parties needing a simple majority to win a seat or become the governing body. This can mean that many votes are wasted, such as in 2010 when over 50% of the votes cast were for losing candidates, and in 2015, whereas it took the Tories 135,000 votes to secure one seat in the Commons, it took UKIP 3.9million votes for just one seat. Furthermore, people believe their vote is worthless as even if a party hasn’t an overall majority, they can still form a government such as in 2005 when the Labour government support was just 22% out of the whole population despite receiving a majority from the electorate hugely damaging it’s legitimacy. However, if people were forced to vote, these underlying issues such as not trusting in any political party would not go away. This is why the argument for compulsory voting in the UK is so divisive and controversial.
It is argued that if voting were compulsory, the government’s legitimacy would increase. This is as if voting was mandatory, more people would turnout and therefore winning candidates and parties would hold a larger percentage of the total vote and all sections of society would be represented. The less educated and the youth are less likely to vote with only 58% of

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