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Can social networks increase voter turnout?

03:14 UK time, Friday, 9 April 2010

The social networking website Facebook has been brought in to get unregistered voters into the polling booth. Will it work?

In a tie-up with the Electoral Commission, Facebook users who visit the site over the weekend will be asked if they have registered to vote.

Electoral Commission spokesman Clinton Proud said the exercise was part of the organisation's remit to expand access to the democratic process.

Are you registered to vote? If not, do you think this might persuade you? Is it right that social networks are being used in this way? Will the strategy be a success?

What would you do if you were prime minister?

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Sure it can. I will also make fraud more easy too.

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    Whether or not social networking sites can affect voter turnout is a double edged sword.

    They will provide a platform for discussions where people can discuss who they want to vote for.

    They will also provide a platform for people to say that they're not voting for any of them because they're all rubbish...

    ...Although not in as many words, more like 'I iznt votin for n-e of them, bcoz they iz all rubbish, innit'.

  • Comment number 4.

    Social networks will do little to influence voter turnout: what is needed is more trust in the political system. No-one really believes that this election will make any difference - Labour/ Conservative the policies are almost the same and the same group of professional politicians will end up having their say. Elections are fundamentally unfair - independent candidates who have the needs of their constituencies at heart have little chance of election in the face of big business funding massive campaigns for the main parties (who they hope will, in return, feather the businesses' nests).

    There is a grave danger that social networks will be used for party political propaganda rather than for enfranchising the people.

  • Comment number 5.

    Anything that gets more people to vote can only be a good thing.

    The current political parties rely on the fact that a shrinking percentage of people vote, if we could get everyone to vote, and to vote for someone who actually represented them and their local area, then we may finally break the stranglehold that the established parties have over our democracy.

    I'm sure the usual moaners will be out in force about this one with their typical snide remarks about people who use Facebook but as they're all a bunch of moaning middle-aged know-nothings then I don't really think anyone should be too disheartened by them or their opinions.

  • Comment number 6.

    If you pay Council Tax you are automatically registered to vote and are 'threatened' by your local authority if you don't fill in and return the electoral register form?

    Why are so many people NOT registered to vote? How does that work? Are we missing a huge loophole somewhere? Does this mean that only people who pay Council Tax are registered to vote? Confused? Can other posters explain this serious anomaly?

  • Comment number 7.

    Social networks might increase voter turnout but why so many people do not vote is because the top 3 parties that dominate UK politics are corrupt career politicians. There is little other option right now.

    Despite all the sleeze and corruption, these vile individuals seem to turn up again and again within the political system, either here in the UK or beyond reach in the unelected EU Parliament.

    There is also the very entrenched feeling that these politicians spout off what they think will get them into power then when in power either fail to keep their promises or start running the country as they want rather than what the people want - they listen only to businesses and corporations rather than the people and as we have recently seen, are only too willing to accept cash to change the law to favour those willing to pay. This is clearly corruption and not in the best interests of the voting public that put them in power in the first place.

    If you think Labour have been corrupt while in power, just wait until the Tories get back in. I will be voting but it will not be on any of these 3 ever again - something has to be done.

  • Comment number 8.

    difficult to say. I'm registered and always vote and don't social network so It won't effect me. And it worked in america. But is it the kind of thing that will make apathetic britons think otherwise? They may need more than gimmicks

  • Comment number 9.

    Social Networks will not persuade people to vote. I am a registered voter, but I do not feel inclined to vote although I will. It's the politicians who will persuade people to vote by convincing the electorate that they can run this country without corruption and greed.

  • Comment number 10.

    Who are these people and who are 'unregistered voters'. Are they 'transient', 'invisible' or not paying local tax at all?

    Anyone who pays council tax, whether in mortgaged or rented property, is forced to register by threats by local authorities?

    What the hell is going on - who are these 'unregistered voters'??!!

  • Comment number 11.

    They can introduce all the gimmicks they want. People are not going to bother voting for a parish council that exists only to implement EU regulations for 75% of their time.

    The remaining 25% of laws that MPs are actually responsible for are the insignificant topics that are too mundane to worry our masters in Brussels.

  • Comment number 12.

    The may help 'broadcast the message' but that means nothing if the audience couldn't care less.

  • Comment number 13.

    #3 and #4 are both spot on!

  • Comment number 14.

    Surely we need to get people who are already registered to actually vote?

    All the untrue cliches like "all the parties are the same" need to be dispelled. No party is flawless but they stand for very different things and if people took the time to look at them closely and then vote, it would make a difference. You might be voting for the lesser of the 3 evils, but at least you are voting and your voice will be heard.

  • Comment number 15.

    Until we change the electoral system the answer is no. In the majority of constituencies we already ready know who will win the seat, so why bother to vote.
    My daughter is in the process of moving to London, but as yet doesn't know where she will live, so will remain registered at home. For her to be able to vote she will have to apply for a postal vote, but little point when it is a 100% certainty that the Labour candidate will win the local seat. It will something like a 30% for them to be unseated, which has never happened.

  • Comment number 16.

    We are registered to vote - because we are registered to pay Council Tax. Our local authority will fine us and bring the law down on us if we don't complete the electoral register?

    Why are there so many 'unregistered voters' out there? We simply don't get it - can other HYS posters explain why there are so many people in UK 'unregistered to vote'?

  • Comment number 17.

    Are Facebook users who haven't registered to vote being warned of the £1000 fine that could be levied against them?

  • Comment number 18.

    I don't see the point of politicians using social networking sites? They rarely or never maintain it themselves & it certainly doesn't allow the electorate to get any better picture of what the candidates stand for because these kind of sites are maintained by their PR teams. The electorate would love some kind of forum where they could ask questions of their candidates without question or answer being censured first, but that will never happen in the slick PR machine that is Westminster. There are many technologies available but this government don't appear to have the first clue about how to use them effectively nor do they really want to engage with the great unwashed.

    Personally I don't see politicians use of facebook/ twitter bringing in any more voters who wouldn't have already turned out. In fact I can see it doing more harm, especially if politicians twitter in the same way as Sarah Brown, rubbing it in our faces that they are jetting off around the world, being wined & dined at our expense.

  • Comment number 19.

    What will make people turn up to vote would be HONEST POLITICIANS or perhaps making voting compulsory, plus adding another box for NONE OF THE ABOVE, and if the none of the above get the biggest vote then the election should be re-held.
    I'd also like it written into law that politicians must tell the truth and not lie punishable by imprisonment, not fines not community service PRISON.

  • Comment number 20.

    The problem is that the only parties who can win all have utterly identical policies on everything (with inconsequential, token 1% tax rises and falls which compared to the turbulences of life, won't make any meaningful difference to people either way).

    If I were to vote for a party who do actually want to make a difference (e.g. the communist party, BNP, UKIP, Greens etc) my vote will get discounted (due to first past the post system).

    Democracy in this country is a facade and social networks can't directly help this.

  • Comment number 21.

    I am sure it can but the more I am being pushed the more I am determined not to vote. Voting to me is collaborating with dishonesty, false promises, impossible finacial management. Therefore I, like many thousands more, will not vote because it would mean putting a cross by someone's name who is not a local person, doesn't know anything about our area's needs or the people who live here and I know will do U-turns left right and centre after the election because he/she cannot go against the part they represent even if he/she would like to do that.

  • Comment number 22.

    Treating the symptons not the cause.

    Get some proper principles that actually appeal to society rather than the individual. If one of the main parties actually did this, it could make a big difference.

    A floating vote (which is effectively what these will be) does no good to society

  • Comment number 23.

    It might help, but the important thing is to persuade people that it is worth voting.

    The key to this is to get rid of safe seats by having multimember constituencies, and to make politicians more responsive to voters and less to powerful vested interests.

    The present system of political funding is corrupt and should be thoroughly reformed, not just by the tinkering suggested by Hayden Phillips. Ordinary voters should decide which parties are worthy of financial support, not wealthy donors, business interests, and those that can finance expensive lobbying. The cost of modest state funding based on voter preference, would be repaid over and over again, by saving money spent on unnecessary government procurement alone.

    Most MPs oppose such reforms, a fact which confirms that they would be effective. They must be told firmly, that like other public servants, their primary concern must be public service, not having a easy life.

  • Comment number 24.

    It will not affect the basic problem; we, the citizens of the UK do not believe in the stuff that the politicians are telling us. Let one party deliver on their promise to reform our corrupt political system, and we would be interested in voting.

  • Comment number 25.

    to No 6. Where on earth do you get the idea that Council Tax payers are automatically registered to vote.

    Voter registration has nothing to do with paying council tax, you have to register separately.

    Also you can opt out of having your name on the register. This means that your name and address are NOT available to be seen by any individual or business that buys a copy of the electoral roll.

  • Comment number 26.

    No 16. Are you sure you are registered? the CT register and the Electoral register are totally separate therefore your name will not appear automatically on the Electoral register. You have to register separately.

    Why is there so much confusion over this?

    Even if you are registered, you are not forced to vote and most certainly will not be fined. This is complete nonsense.

  • Comment number 27.

    Well now, it is very important that we all use our democratic right to vote. It is even more important that young people vote as their's is the future. The very best way to do obtain their future is for the young people to vote. Over the last decade or so the turn out at elections has declined, as the young people for whatever reason have not used their democratic right. Any attempt to engage with the young and get their opinions counted as votes must be good.

  • Comment number 28.

    I am sure most people are turned off by the election already as it has dragged on for so long with the phoney war.

    We now have a 4 week campaign to add to the torture.

    That said, I love politics and am an avid follower, but most are not interested in such a long process.

  • Comment number 29.

    Social networking can also wreak a great deal of mischief.

  • Comment number 30.

    As it turns out, sort of yes and no. It means that the Mps can now indulge in meeeting the people without meeting the people.
    They can hide away in their little rooms without shaking a hand. it means they can stay away from Jerry paxman.

    But it means people having the change to debate and become more intrested in polictics always a good thing.
    My 14 year old is now intrested But has no say in anything there is no kids websites for them to debate...
    And as long as its not censored Hmmmmmm! catch my drift?

  • Comment number 31.

    I've just used VoteMatch on Facebook. It tells me that my views match:

    50% Green Party
    48% Labour Party
    45% Liberal Party
    42% Conservative Party
    30% UK Independence Party
    22% BNP

    So what about the other 50% of my views - how do they get represented?

  • Comment number 32.

    Let people vote VIA social netwrok sites, or at least online! That would boost the votes.

    Why have internet votes not been introduced yet? Walking to a polling booth is so old fashioned.

  • Comment number 33.

    Democratic process?!!

    What?

    We don't have a proper democracy in this country any more. It's all but a totalitarian state in whoever's hands wins this wretched election.

    The digital bill proves we're no democracy, likewise the terrorist laws. I'll start believing in democracy when we have more direct democracy, referenda on points that must be dealt with if enough of the public are interested. With our current arrangements that would go down like a lead balloon.

  • Comment number 34.

    Voter apathy? when faced with a bunch of self-serving, expense grabbing politicians.. who'd have thought it?

    I was brought up to regard my vote as something we had fought for and a duty that must be carried out.. for the first time in my life I am considering a vote boycott to show my lack of trust in any of the major parties.

  • Comment number 35.

    If we had an open and truthful election whereby politicians actually provided relevent detail of policys instead of just skimming the surface and keeping the public in gross ignorance, then I doubt ANY tool would be needed to improve voter numbers.

    The fact remains is that the biggest destroyer of voting numbers is our political system which does NOT provide and ensure that truth and fact and promises of intent are fully and legally disclosed.

    Election policy is poorely labelled and is factually intentioned to deceive, otherwise it would be so much better and informative with detail. Our UK election policys are basically like purchasing a tin of food with a label on it stating

    "EDIBLE STUFF INSIDE, may or may not be good for you or what you want, may have a few unwanted surprises that can harm your status and family Buy one and receive a whole 4 to 5 years supply, price/cost and ingredients may vary and liable to change without your consent, but it really really does look nice, especially from a distance and without all the detail gobbledegook to distract you from a nice pretty picture."

  • Comment number 36.

    Facebook or whatever will not make any difference because politics is tedious waffle which puts people off. To get people to register it needs to matter. Instead of politicians slagging each other off from a distance - surrounded by their adoring supporters there should be - not just the prime ministerial debates , but head-to-heads in every constituancy. I remember when political candidates got on the street , on the soapbox and faced their oppnents , hecklers and all. That made the debate and the election exciting instead of the offputting earache we get today.

  • Comment number 37.

    to no 25. You can opt out of the publicly available register but not the main voting register which everyone must - by law - be on.

  • Comment number 38.

    I don't work within my electoral ward and can't make phonecalls from work. How am I supposed to find out if I'm registered to vote?

    Enabling people to register to vote online would help. Facebook etc could provide links then. I mean - we've got security for paying VAT online, internet banking, car tax online, applying for jobs online ... why not registering to vote online?

  • Comment number 39.

    I'm a very active member of the UKDemocracy group on Facebook. What worries me most is that any undecided or apathetic person viewing much of the vitriol, bias and ill-informed opinion on the group's wall is likely to be turned off politics and voting for good. The group needs much better moderation.

  • Comment number 40.

    I don't think it will make a lot of difference but it's worth trying to encourage a few more people to the polls.

    As for those posters who think that social networking sites are only used by people who write in text-speak, I'm afraid they are as out of touch with society as the politicians. Facebooks is...ubiquitous.

  • Comment number 41.

    Today JPublic wrote, 'If you think Labour has been corrupt while in power, just wait until the Tories get back in' What an idiotic sweeping statement. With every MP under permanent scrutiny and all expenses being online every month (a TORY initiative) does JPublic really think any of them will get away with anything in the future? I smell a rat, I wonder how much Labour Central Office pays him per month.

  • Comment number 42.

    31. At 12:59pm on 09 Apr 2010, Simon Harpham wrote:

    "I've just used VoteMatch on Facebook. It tells me that my views match:

    50% Green Party
    48% Labour Party
    45% Liberal Party
    42% Conservative Party
    30% UK Independence Party
    22% BNP

    So what about the other 50% of my views - how do they get represented?"

    By setting up your own party that 100% matches your views. There is no other way you can do it. No party is likely to ever match your views 100%.

  • Comment number 43.

    @corum-populo-2010

    Even if you pay council tax, you will not automatically be registered to vote and I don't know of any law that say's that you have to be register.

    You're asked to register between August and November every year when your local Electoral Registration Office delivers a registration form to your home during the 'annual canvass'.

    What threats have you experienced ?

  • Comment number 44.

    @ No 7, JPublic:
    7. At 12:01pm on 09 Apr 2010, JPublic wrote:
    Despite all the sleeze and corruption, these vile individuals seem to turn up again and again within the political system, either here in the UK or beyond reach in the unelected EU Parliament.

    I'm not a fan of Brussels by any chalk, I accept we are in the European Union and it works net to our advantage. But to say the EU parliament is unelected is unfortunately simply not correct. The EU elections took place last year; all our MEP's are directly elected by the UK population. Like it or not, they are representative of the voting tendancy of the UK hence why that awful Mr Farage and nasty Nick Griffin (I cannot bear the thought of gratifying him with the title "Mr" even) hold seats in that house.
    As far the wider question of this HYS, I believe Social Media will increase turnout marginally. The prompt on Facebook to register to vote will certainly get more youner voters on the books; undeniably a proportion of those will then use that vote that otherwise would not have had the opportunity. Is it going to increase turnout by a substantial amount? I think probably not!
    I see this election going 1 of two ways but struggle to decide which is more likely. Either turnout will be up as people protest in the most vocal way about the abuse by MP's of the expenses system through voting for independant candidates or spoil their ballots (more below) or it will drop as people believe that the system is corrupt and it's not worth voting for any of them.
    As for spoiling ballots... If it is widely known and agreed that a spoilt ballot means "None-of-the-above" then I suspect there would be a large number of spoils; you could make it such that if the largest proportion of votes are spoilt, that no candidate is favoured, then all the candidates should be removed and new ones selected. That should continue until a single candidate takes the largest share of votes. Okay, it would take time, but it would send the message loud and clear that we, the public, are furious with our troughing MP's and will not longer tolerate their outright abuse of the system any longer. They are our servants, they are not our masters.

  • Comment number 45.

    Can social networks increase voter turnout? I hope not! Boycott the election. Don't even bother to spoil your ballot paper; it's a waste of ink/lead. Don't believe the hype; you have a right to complain if you don't vote and it doean't mean you're apathetic.
    Let's go for as low a turnout as possible. Remember:

    DON'T VOTE; IT ONLY ENCOURAGES THEM.

  • Comment number 46.

    What a joke......

    Perhaps we'd all do better not to vote, whereupon if no-one got any votes the truth may sink in to even their over-infated egos.


  • Comment number 47.

    34. At 1:08pm on 09 Apr 2010, Robert Eva wrote:
    Voter apathy? when faced with a bunch of self-serving, expense grabbing politicians.. who'd have thought it?

    I was brought up to regard my vote as something we had fought for and a duty that must be carried out.. for the first time in my life I am considering a vote boycott to show my lack of trust in any of the major parties.


    Sympathise entirely. Then why not vote for one of the minot parties that has some appeal - or even at random - to help them with their deposit?

    Our household has decided unanimously to do that.

  • Comment number 48.

    To: Post#25. YOU contradict yourself? We 'opt out' of allowing our local authority to 'sell on' our details as allowed on our electoral register form.

    Do not patronise council tax-payers who are on the record of paying council tax? Including soldiers, and parents of soldiers, to 'Lynn from Sussex' (post#25)?

  • Comment number 49.

    I don't know. It's a nice idea. I'm glad they're trying it. Then we'll know whether it works. If it does, do it again next time, if it doesn't, consign it to history.

  • Comment number 50.

    There is the slight irony of using a 'social networking' sites (aimed at and used by people who can't always be bothered to go out and actually meet people to socialise) to encourage people to go out and actually vote.

    I was under the impression that it was a legal obligation to complete the electoral roll forms when they came through, where have all these unregistered voters come from? (I didn't actually mean that geographically, but that is a possible cause I suppose).

  • Comment number 51.

    39. At 1:15pm on 09 Apr 2010, James Rigby wrote:
    I'm a very active member of the UKDemocracy group on Facebook. What worries me most is that any undecided or apathetic person viewing much of the vitriol, bias and ill-informed opinion on the group's wall is likely to be turned off politics and voting for good. The group needs much better moderation.


    But is moderation democratic? Who's going to moderate? This is what NuLab always tries to do: silence opposition. Even in Parliament. Notice how Brown tries to shut the opposition up with torrents of words rather than answering questions.

    Social networking can derail the whole thing (and perhaps should be allowed to if users feel so inclined). The X-factor business was a case in point. Things can backfire.

  • Comment number 52.

    Every little helps. Anything that gets more people voting can;t be a bad thing.

    And to those people who have inevitably crawled out of the woodwork to criticise Facebook you do realise we use facebook to keep in contact with out real life friends. It's brilliant for graduates to chat to each other, so we do have lives, just they're scattered round the country a bit.

  • Comment number 53.

    At 12:23pm on 09 Apr 2010, Claire Herbert wrote: "Surely we need to get people who are already registered to actually vote? All the untrue cliches like "all the parties are the same" need to be dispelled. No party is flawless but they stand for very different things and if people took the time to look at them closely and then vote, it would make a difference. You might be voting for the lesser of the 3 evils, but at least you are voting and your voice will be heard."

    My problem in this regard is that each of the main parties have a major policy I regard as a 'deal-breaker', I something I just can't accept as a lesser evil and tacitly support irrespective of what I think of the rest of their package. For me it's the ID Card / database state for Labour, the Tory plans to effectively give the Beeb to Rupert Murdoch, and the so-called 'Liberal' Democrats proposed much more intrusive line on regulating 'obesity' through greater interference with our individual lifestyle choices. Each will affect me personally and I would rather spoil my ballot than live in the knowledge that my vote may have helped them come to pass.

    Of course in reality I live in one of the safest of safe Labour seats so unless I vote Labour my vote will be wasted anyway. Might as well spoil it and at least register my utter dissatisfaction with the whole system.

    As for the legitimacy of using Facebook as an election tool, I suppose that if it's the only way the parties can now reach out to a teenage demographic who increasingly consider e-mail an anachronism and lack the attention span to watch the evening news, it serves some purpose. What I don't want to see is a world where we're increasingly expected or even compelled to engage with the 'social networking' craze, something I consider dull and narcissistic and in which I have no interest, in order to access certain services, partake in discussions or register our opinions. there's concern amongst older people that they're being forced online against their wishes by the gradual migration away from paper and telephone-based communication methods; I certainly don't want my reluctance to be sucked into the murky world of Dramabook (as my wife calls it) to limit my access to anything more than the annoying application 'fan' invites and SuperDuperPokes in which my dislike of the whole thing is rooted.

  • Comment number 54.

    "32. At 1:02pm on 09 Apr 2010, Jim Stone wrote:
    Let people vote VIA social netwrok sites, or at least online! That would boost the votes. Why have internet votes not been introduced yet? Walking to a polling booth is so old fashioned."

    Because the possible abuse and therefore electoral fraud it huge. What better target fr every would be hacker?

    Also are you even faintly aware of this Goverment's record with huge monolithic computer systems? They cost too much, run over budget, go on-line late, don't fully fulfil the specification they were designed to fill and crash.

    You live in the real world, go out and experience it in the 'old fashioned' way once in a while.

  • Comment number 55.

    "31. At 12:59pm on 09 Apr 2010, Simon Harpham wrote:
    I've just used VoteMatch on Facebook. It tells me that my views match:
    50% Green Party
    48% Labour Party
    45% Liberal Party
    42% Conservative Party
    30% UK Independence Party
    22% BNP
    So what about the other 50% of my views - how do they get represented?"

    I'd wager that the 50%, 48%,45% and 42% are all for much the same views! Shades of magnolia, that is what we are being offered.

  • Comment number 56.

    To post #26 'Lynn from Sussex'.

    You are totally missing the point? This HYS discussion isn't about 'enforced voting'? NO POSTER ON THIS SITE HAS EVEN SUGGESTED THAT? ok?

  • Comment number 57.

    A voter registration form is sent to every household in a council area, you are expected to enter people who live there, who have reached 18 years old onto this forms so they are registered to vote. If you don't do this, they are unregistered voters.
    If you move from one constituency to another and don't register to vote you are an unregistered voter.
    You can register to vote upto 11 days before the election.
    REGISTER,EXERCISE YOUR FRANCHISE, PEOPLE DIED TO GET YOU THIS, VOTE.

  • Comment number 58.

    I was impressed by this article and respected this vote system very highly. But is the credibility of this system sufficient? Someone may be manipulating votes.

  • Comment number 59.

    I think it's a good idea although how effective it will be is something else.
    Another good thing is that apparently the forms will be partially filled in using the data facebook holds on the person which will help highlight how much personal information social networking sites store and its potential use in identity theft.

  • Comment number 60.

    "14. At 12:23pm on 09 Apr 2010, Claire Herbert wrote:
    Surely we need to get people who are already registered to actually vote?

    All the untrue cliches like "all the parties are the same" need to be dispelled. No party is flawless but they stand for very different things and if people took the time to look at them closely and then vote, it would make a difference. You might be voting for the lesser of the 3 evils, but at least you are voting and your voice will be heard."

    Are you for real? Saying they are all the same is NOT a cliche its a fact. They are all slaves to the same lobby groups.

    I'll give you an example. Ever heard of:-

    Labour friends of Israel?

    How about:-

    Conservative friends of Israel?

    Each party member recieves 30K a year from Israelie lobby groups to ensure they don't rock the boat. If they do they lose 30K a year. And that is the tip of the iceberg.

    What do you think John Major has done since leaving office? How about Tony Blair? Both brokering contracts between the government and big business and making commision out of it. All politicans we currently have are 'career' politicians meaning they know nothing of the real world and do not have principles, all they want is to get as high up as possible so they can make personal profit when leaving office.

    All our parties are the same because they are told what to do by the same groups.

    I would only vote for a party that actually stood for genuine reform across many areas but especially lobbying.

    No party is willing to do that and if you look at all the major parties none of them want reform because they all profit from the current system.

    I will go to the ballot of polling day but only to ruin my ballot card, i will not vote for any of these crooks.

  • Comment number 61.

    ALL individuals who are legally registered to vote, must vote.

    Sadly, there are huge numbers of women trafficked into UK who bear babies in UK and are sent back to their country within and outside of EU, yet the fathers who vote and claim UK benefits for the wife, the babies etc., etc. Oops? Off topic?

  • Comment number 62.

    It is a sad and disinterested society that needs a social networking site to stir someone into registering to vote. I am a strong believer in compulsory voting, failing to do so should preclude the layabouts from their benefits.

  • Comment number 63.

    Maximus, MPs of all parties were caught up in the expenses scandal, the Telegraph(a Tory supporting paper) chose to start publishing Labour expenses claims first , ensuring lightweights like yourself would think only Labour MPs were overclaiming on their expenses. Otherwise how else do you explain why Cameron, a multi-millionaire claimed £28,000 mortgage expenses on his second home and the Telegraph made nothing of it.

  • Comment number 64.

    Perhaps Facebook should consider a panic button on every page labelled "Help, I'm being groomed by a politician !".

  • Comment number 65.

    Hang on, when did it become a crime to not be on an electoral register ?

    Another one slipped past me, lots of web references that this is the case but no info on when it happened.

    In that case, I'll make sure I'm not on the next one, people fought for my right to vote, not for GBs right to insist I tell him where I live !

  • Comment number 66.

    OK. Politicians thrive on political divisions among YOU AND ME - the electorate?

    Why would David Cameron rally, now 90 BIG business leaders of BIG business in UK over ONE ISSUE ONLY = National Insurance rise? Hmmmm?

    Is that all the Conservatives have to offer?




  • Comment number 67.

    So when do we, the public get our cut of the profit from selling our names to marketing slimes then ?

  • Comment number 68.

    No problem with using social networks in this way but unfortunately the system is now dysfunctional. Everybody I talk to says the same thing. There is no-one worth electing. They are all untrustworthy crooks, liars and charlatans at best. Traditionally, society locks criminals up but not this lot. So why would we vote for them?

    Parliament has lost its authority and its credentials. British democracy has also lost it's credentials, we now live in an arena that could probably be best described as corporate facism.

    It doesn't matter who you vote for, they are all in it together. As a bunch of people they have no experience in practical success in this world and have become so far detached from the reality of people's lives that they are an utterly worthless, talentless bunch of people.

    Top to Bottom, left to right the political and indeed legal systems need major overhaul. As government no longer has any authority with the people (who are often far better educated than the muppets in government) in this county (and presumambly the law courts are going the same way given the incompetent law making that has been going on -- all one of the same crowd anyway), anything less is frankly pointless and futile. The politicians do not seem to have any recognition of just how deep the crisis that THEY (whatever your damn party) are in is.

    But who can execute this process? Them? No, because they can't be trusted. This will help lead to the continued decline of the UK as we drift ever further forwards to being a power of past ages.

    Sorry, but it looks like we're buggared. And No, I wouldn't want the responsibility of playing a part in electing any of these people to power and I'm pretty convinced that lots of other people feel this way.

  • Comment number 69.

    IMHO the kind of person who uses facebook should not be allowed to vote in the UK.

  • Comment number 70.

    We used to live in Australia, and if you don't vote you get a $100 fine - should be the same here.

    They also use a preference system that seems to work better than our antiquated system.

  • Comment number 71.

    To quote part of an email I received this morning from my constituency MP: Win or lose I won't respond to you again. With an attitude like that they deserve to loose their seat. And there's me thinking that they're there to represent us! No wonder people have lost interest and trust in British politics.

  • Comment number 72.

    Not a fan of social networking - not even sure that those who do indulge will care one way or the other. Sounds like a gimmick to me - concentrate on those who really care about the country enough to study the manifestos of each party and come to an informed decision.

  • Comment number 73.

    it may do.
    I think that only people that have put into the system should be able to vote as were are the people paying for everything.

  • Comment number 74.

    corum-populo-2010 - To answer your question, I pay council tax but am not registered. I just ignore their threats. I think it's important not to vote, to show them how fed up we are with the current system. Going along to vote, then spoiling the paper is a waste of time, as that figure is not widely published. Voter turnout is.

  • Comment number 75.

    Probably not; what would significantly increase poll turnout:

    Having carefully vetted and assessed MPs and candidates having the following:
    1) IQ greater than 30 with some evidence of appropriate education.
    2) Proven Integrity and Decency over a sustained period.
    3) Proven UK Patriotism and genuine desire to work for the benefit of GB.
    4) Intelligence, creativity and strength of character to come up with credible and realistic set of policies to restore health of Great Britain.
    5) Capability to restore the trust of the electorate; currently=zero.

    We need this most urgently; at the moment the majority of people I know don't trust MPs.
    That's why people don't bother to vote.
    We pay for the UK System via our taxes, so We need and deserve better quality Government.
    Q: Who has caused more damage to UK over last 10 yrs:
    Terrorists OR The Labour Government?
    A very simple question, even my cat could answer this one!
    They let in war criminals, illegals and allowed some to even work in the Home Office and our hospitals.
    Q Would you bother to turn out to Vote again ?

  • Comment number 76.

    ColinWhinger wrote "I am a strong believer in compulsory voting"

    I am not cos that would play straight into the hands of the politico's at the moment the only way to show dissatisfaction in the political process is to abstain, because in 30 years of me voting nothing has substantially changed. Just because I am not voting doesn't mean I have no say I am having a say in the ever increasing low turnout my argument being that politicians don't care about your vote until it isn't there and the turnout falls to such a level that it renders the election pointless then we may get some action...in my view give me something to vote for or you are just wasting my time

    If compulsory voting ever comes in would be one of the first to rip the ballot paper up and would be demanding a box on the ballot paper marked

    None of the Above

    Who knows it may even get more than 50% of the vote

    I would also want a completely secret ballot in UK elections because I am not convinced...

    Watch as you hand your polling card in how they mark the ballot paper against your polling card number. When I queried this I was told by one of the polling station staff that it was used to trace those who wrote threatening statements on the ballot paper. If it can be used for this then why not to see who votes for the BNP the Communist party or indeed any political party computers are big enough to do that for the whole electorate.

    Of course I am sure someone out there can educate me on this point otherwise you have to question how secret is the voting in UK elections actually is.

  • Comment number 77.

    What will encourage people to vote is having a party that stands for their needs and views.

    For the past 13 years, we had a party voted in only then to turn the UK into a social and financial hell-hole who has denied the EU vote and allowed mass, uncontrolled immigration without asking if we minded.

    I feel so disgusted by Labours actions and their consequent corruption and what makes it worse is Gordon Brown talking like this does not matter and asking for us to vote for Labour again.

    The Tories are no better and in fact, I fear they will be worse and so will the Lib Dems. Immigration is the subject at the moment they have skirted around yet a majority of the UK are clearly bothered by the alarming and relentless tide coming into the country and bringing all the problems that come with over-crowding.

    The top 3 parties are so very out of touch with the public - this is the main reason for voter apathy as the fringe parties cannot get the media exposure these 3 have. The other issue being is that big business and corporations pay donations to these parties to help promote and you have to ask why that is - businesses do not pay for nothing - they expect something in return.

  • Comment number 78.

    No, but having policies worth voting for will increase voter turnout.

    Why resort to facebook?
    We've seen too much spin & sleaze, the old tricks don't work no more and the parties are getting desperate?

  • Comment number 79.

    "62. At 2:18pm on 09 Apr 2010, ColinWhinger wrote:
    It is a sad and disinterested society that needs a social networking site to stir someone into registering to vote. I am a strong believer in compulsory voting, failing to do so should preclude the layabouts from their benefits."
    I have no problem with compulsory voting per se, but I think I would prefer an option such as those who don't vote get a £100 reduction in their tax-free allowance.

  • Comment number 80.

    Social networking sites could make a change. If they mattered.

    As it stands, whatever people do on Facebook doesn't make any difference, politically. If politicians showed that they paid attention to them, then people would be more inclined to register their opinion on them.

    Will they change who goes to the polling booth? No.
    Should voting on them be analysed? Yes.

  • Comment number 81.

    "15. At 12:24pm on 09 Apr 2010, David wrote:
    My daughter is in the process of moving to London, but as yet doesn't know where she will live, so will remain registered at home. For her to be able to vote she will have to apply for a postal vote, but little point when it is a 100% certainty that the Labour candidate will win the local seat. It will something like a 30% for them to be unseated, which has never happened."

    And it never will if you don't bother to vote!

  • Comment number 82.

    69. At 2:59pm on 09 Apr 2010, Enuf_Zed wrote:

    IMHO the kind of person who uses facebook should not be allowed to vote in the UK.

    ---------------------------------------

    IMHO the kind of people who make comments like this should not be allowed to vote. This shows a total disrespect for the democratic processes and the fundamental freedoms of the voter to do whatever he or she chooses to do. If you don't like democracy perhaps you should move somewhere else.

  • Comment number 83.

    70. At 3:01pm on 09 Apr 2010, Enuf_Zed wrote:
    We used to live in Australia, and if you don't vote you get a $100 fine - should be the same here.

    They also use a preference system that seems to work better than our antiquated system.

    I disagree. I too have lived in Australia and my partner is Australian. A person should have every right NOT to vote. It shouldn't be made compulsary.
    To be fined for making the choice not to vote is just ridiculous.

  • Comment number 84.

    There are some issues that will get people to vote. One is the question of retaining DNA on the database. I believe it should be kept for at least forty years. Or I would settle for every child's DNA being recorded at birth and retained for a lifetime. The value of DNA in identifying those who commit serious crimes is inestimable.

  • Comment number 85.

    JPublic said "What will encourage people to vote is having a party that stands for their needs and views". I want to see a hung parliament for that reason. I also want to see a change in the voting system to give us a stronger influence on policies.

  • Comment number 86.

    Yes ,of course.
    Social networks can be useful in organising small or large parties to have a ''Vote'' party.
    I'd imagine party hats, streamers, a cake and poppers. Voters could turn out in the Party colours of their choice.

    Maybe even a charity tin, marked ''Election 2015'' at the side of the street next to any prospective MP's.
    They will take pictures of their Election Voting Party and post them online in real-time because, obviously, they haven't got better things to do with their lives.

  • Comment number 87.

    This is all very well, but one must not overlook the people who cannot (because they do not have internet access) or do not (out of personal preference) utilise such sites – although many such people do vote (myself included), apathy is a serious issue.

  • Comment number 88.

    Forget Facebook, step by step instructions on how to register and vote should be put in The Sun. It would have to use simple English though, maybe with the use of pictures too, just so everyone is sure they know what to do. Maybe put it somewhere on Page 3. Then it would be the very first thing everyone turns to look at.

  • Comment number 89.

    38. At 1:15pm on 09 Apr 2010, erfalaswen wrote:
    Enabling people to register to vote online would help. Facebook etc could provide links then. I mean - we've got security for paying VAT online, internet banking, car tax online, applying for jobs online ... why not registering to vote online?

    Because once you have registering to vote online, then its a short step to voting online and then the realisation we don't need representation anymore; we can all vote on the issues directly using the net. Unless of course there is a way to cut people off from the net.....

  • Comment number 90.

    Presumably this idea is based on some of the very successful Facebook campaigns such as the "Rage Against the Machine to Christmas No 1" campaign.

    Nice idea in theory and it probably will encourage more younger people to vote but I doubt it'll have the same impact, particularly if so many people are determined to refuse to vote in the hope it'll force electoral reform.

  • Comment number 91.

    The strangest comments on here are actually from people who don't use social networking sites (nothing wrong in that!!!) that anybody who does must be an illiterate jobless teenager who is scrounging benefits from the government and unable to experience a social life beyond a computer monitor.

    I use facebook and it is a great way of keeping up with friends who live right across the country especially for quick catch up's as opposed to lengthy e-mails and such. The 100+ friends i have on here are all in similar circumstances, friends spread across the country, indeed the world. From none of them have i seen text speak, illiteracy, ignorance or lack of moral judgement or standards and the majority have already expressed comments of a political nature.

    Don't pigeon hole everybody who uses sites like facebook just because it is a social site on the internet. As far as my friends are concerned they encompass a wide range of ages, careers, etc etc.

    I for one think it is a good idea to bring the election to people more, as long as it is not done in a tedious monotonous way like everything to do with politics these days. Also i will be voting but not for any of the three so called 'big' parties.

  • Comment number 92.

    Our local MP is a friend on facebook, and keeps us all updated to what is going on. He supports a moral and British way of life, including the flying of the St. George flag. He attends local events, and Sunday services at local churches and is a credit to our town. Even if I was not a follower of his party, I would vote for him because of his moral and Christian views. I would not know any of these things about him, if he wasn't represented on facebook.

  • Comment number 93.

    Nice to see all the usual narrow-minded prejudices surfacing on Have Your Say. What is the problem with increasing awareness of our, admittedly unfair and undemocratic, political system? I'm increasingly of the opinion that there is a certain section of society who will not rest until the only people willing to come out to vote are those on index-linked pensions.

  • Comment number 94.

    I dont want to give my vote to any of the parties asking for it.
    I would vote if it would be counted.

    My vote ? a big X in a box that said none of the above.

    To my mind the only way to show this pack of greedy self serving clowns that the majority of people in this country are fed up with the lot of them.

    Will "facebook" and the like make a difference....I doubt it.

  • Comment number 95.

    NO, but a change in the voting system from 'first past the post' to proportional representation most certainly would. In most general elections in the modern era, the majority of the people who bother to vote do not get the Government they voted for. This is undemocratic. This country has got to get its mind around coalition administrations. Until that happens, turnout will remain low, except perhaps in some of the marginals.

  • Comment number 96.

    69. At 2:59pm on 09 Apr 2010, Enuf_Zed wrote:
    IMHO the kind of person who uses facebook should not be allowed to vote in the UK.

    IMHO you're a snob, who shouldnt be allowed to vote since due to your narrow minded, judgemental views.

  • Comment number 97.

    69. At 2:59pm on 09 Apr 2010, Enuf_Zed wrote:
    IMHO the kind of person who uses facebook should not be allowed to vote in the UK.


    Sorry my above pst should have stated:

    IMHO, you are a snob who should not be allowed to vote due to your rather narrow minded, judgemental views.

  • Comment number 98.

    Robert Eva wrote:
    "Voter apathy? when faced with a bunch of self-serving, expense grabbing politicians.. who'd have thought it?

    I was brought up to regard my vote as something we had fought for and a duty that must be carried out.. for the first time in my life I am considering a vote boycott to show my lack of trust in any of the major parties."

    They don't hear silent messages. Don't do it.

  • Comment number 99.

    Whether it does or doesn't, voting now is to choose between a bunch of shysters who tell lies to get elected then do as they please for 5 yrs. While we plan to evict them, the individual MP's have set up their contacts, set up their future incomes and generally used their 5 yrs to set themselves up for a secure future with constituents coming a poor 5th or so.

    Politics in UK is a total sham and we need a change, but how and to what?No-one will chop the golden goose. Proportional representaion, as in Italy, leads to ongoing coalitions that get nowhere & pass no useful laws. Out of frying pan & .........!

  • Comment number 100.

    Reading all sorts of daft comments on here.

    The political parties do not control the electoral register - the local council does.

    You can go to your library and ask to see if you are on the electoral register - they will have copies. They will more than likely have the forms to register too.

    In any case the registration office will have extended / weekend opening hours too in the run-up to the election.

    If you have been sent a polling card then you ARE on the register.

    Yes, it is an offence not to be on the electoral register but I don't think anyone has been charged with this in decades (it is not a new offence)

    Paying council tax DOES NOT MEAN you are automatically on the register to vote. You have to register seperatly.

    Being registered with a GP is not the same as being on the register to vote. GPs dont pass your details to the council.

    The local council sends a form round in September / October. If you fill this in and return it you are registered. BUT you can register at any time of the year - to vote on May 6th register by 20th April.

    Facebook is being used to get the message to a particular group of people that they MAY need to register. There are also posters and adverts on TV / Papers. All FB are doing is getting the message out about registering. They are not forcing anyone to vote or vote a particular way. The electoral commission is an independent body and improving registration is part of its job.

    BTW if you are not on the register it may affect your ability to get credit as the agencies will check that you are registered at your current or previous addresses.

    FINALLY - If you are not on the register then you are simply NOT able to vote. If you are on the register then you can CHOOSE to vote or not.

 

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