Journal opinion: Who will be to blame if election turnout falls?

The Journal's opinion column for Saturday, February 7, in which we look at the reasons for a fall in registrations to vote at the election

Rui Vieira/PA Wire A ballot box at a polling station
A ballot box at a polling station

For those interested in politics and current affairs, the general election campaign is an exciting time.

This election more than any other has much for the politics buff to enjoy, with the closeness of the polls, the crisis faced by the Lib Dems, the rise of UKIP and the Greens and an SNP surge in Scotland to dissect.

But for an uncomfortably large number of people, this is all passing them by.

The way we register to vote was changed to tighten our defences against the threat of electoral fraud. That’s a laudable aim, but the unintended consequence has been a marked drop-off in registrations, particularly among young people.

Some choose to blame politicians for what was yesterday called a “crisis of democratic engagement.”

But at the end of the day, if people are not choosing to vote it is because they are not interested enough in the democratic process.

If this trend continues then politicians are indeed going to have to look hard at the voting process.

But those who aren’t engaged in that process have to play their part.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer