Force young people to vote at first opportunity, says think tank

 
A woman passes a polling station The IPPR argues that young people, who are less likely to vote, have been hit hardest by spending cuts

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Young people should be required to turn out at the first election in which they have the right to vote, the IPPR think tank has said.

The plans, to be set out in a forthcoming report, involve a small fine for young people deciding not to vote at their first election.

They would also offer first-time voters who did not back any political party a "none of the above" option.

Labour is reportedly considering whether to back the idea.

Shadow lord chancellor Sadiq Khan has also said his party might propose lowering the voting age from 18 to 16.

IPPR researchers found that the UK has one of the largest differences in voter turnout between young and old people in Europe.

In 2013 local elections, an estimated 32% of 18- to 24-year-olds voted, compared with 72% of those aged over 65, the think tank said.

It also estimated that turnout for under-35s earning less than £10,000 a year was just 34%, whereas turnout for over-55s with an income of at least £40,000 a year was 79%.

'Vicious cycle'

According to the IPPR's figures, young people have been hit hardest by public spending cuts, with 16- to 24-year-olds facing cuts to services worth 28% of their annual household income, compared with 10% of the income of those aged 55-74.

Start Quote

It could well help to reinvigorate democracy”

End Quote Sarah Birch Politics professor at Glasgow University

Guy Lodge, an associate director at the think tank, said: "Unequal turnout matters because it gives older and more affluent voters disproportionate influence at the ballot box.

"Turnout rates among the young have fallen significantly which means there is less incentive for politicians to pay attention to them.

"Young people who don't vote today are less likely than previous generations to develop the habit of voting as they get older, which is why first time compulsory voting is so important."

The result was a "vicious cycle of disaffection and under-representation" in which, he said, "As policy becomes less responsive to their interests, more and more decide that politics has little to say to them."

Report co-author Sarah Birch, a politics professor at the University of Glasgow, added: "There are many other things that young people are required to do, not the least of which is go to school.

"Adding just one more small task to this list would not represent an undue burden, and it could well help to reinvigorate democracy.

"It would make politicians target first-time voters like never before and give young voters the potential for far greater political power."

 

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  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 290.

    Stupid British. If Sadiq Khan get his way lowering the age of voting to 16 you will have a Islamic PM in 10/20 years maybe less which way this country is going. No more Pubs No more legal Alcohol no more XMASES they don't believe in what you believe in, think of things you believe in think before you act DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 289.

    276:

    It's a library of all the Acts passed, by all recent governments, by date or any other criterion as you search.

    There's also a longer history:

    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 288.

    A young peoples voting Poll is what is needed. Let them vote at high school and at work. It will all be on=line in the next few years anyway. Can't say I remember ever talking about Politics and the right to vote at school. The answer to finding new leaders for our country is to create a Political class in the last year of school. More social debates, less math.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 287.

    A good move and a step in the correct direction. The UK like many counties has reached a point where politicians are worlds apart from the people they represent.Clearly this leads to poor government and weak leadership. Bit by bit a good democracy has got to move to a point where the politicians connect with the will of the people and start making policy decisions that benefit the whole population

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 286.

    I'm surprised at how many people think that forcing people to vote improves democracy. Without a "none of the above" option, and with bad and very bad candidates, where's the democracy?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 285.

    @280 Nope. J Hoovers posted that for my benefit. I'm the one who will be making the requests. If local councils need money all the government has to do is stop letting big corporations shovel money into their own pockets. But then they'd have to rely on actually being good at their jobs rather than lobbyists.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 284.

    Stupid idea, the choice to not vote is as important as choosing to do so. The apathy shown by the every decreasing percentage who turn out has been picked up and reported and that apathy would be hidden behind statistics of a high turn out. If they want to force people to vote a "non of the above" is required on the ballot.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 283.

    Dont vote - it only encourages them.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 282.

    Maybe try setting an example and inspiring people to get involved than force them with punishments to buy into your crap...

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 281.

    "Report co-author Sarah Birch, a politics professor at the University of Glasgow..."

    Surely you can stop right there. To be a genuine politics professor, you have to be neutral. Since she appears to start with a certain political leaning, should she continue in her (publicly funded) job??

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 280.

    261 The J Hoovers Witnesses

    Ah yes, the Freedom of Information Act. In most cases used by companies trying to get data about how public money is spent so that they can get more of it, or journalists writing stories to profit from them...

    Meanwhile, the your local council is having to cut services to divert resources you are paying for in order to answer FOI requests.

    Democracy at work.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 279.

    If mp's can abstain from voting in parliament then why not young people,also give the voters an extra option like none of the above so then they have to change the candidates to somebody who can tell the truth for ONCE....!!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 278.

    I agree not enough young people vote, I didn't when I was younger, however; children do not get taught politics in school, nor law either, both of these subjects should be heavily covered especially the Magna Carta, rights of the Freeman etc, so young people understand their rights & what democracy is, I would edge caution though 18 should be the min age, they need to be educated first, beforehand

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 277.

    Compulsory voting isn't democracy
    We need politicians who will not pander to their own ilk but will represent the best interests of young people not themselves. It's like asking NHS managers to effect cost cutting ... They'll sack a few nurses and orderlies when what is needed is to cull a few layers of management.
    Perhaps a benevolent dictator would be better than our form of democracy ?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 276.

    J Hoovers. Does that link represent what is actually done or is it the pre election carrot on a stick?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 275.

    to be honest i go to work earn my money look after my family i dont care about the goverment and what they do apart from sit on there bottom all day couldnt care less.. i will never vote there all useless and matter nothing to me atal FACTTTT

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 274.

    Why on earth would we want to vote for people so obviously untrustwothy?!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 273.

    Ha Ha how much did we pay this think tank to come out with this gem of an idea? Everyone has the right to vote or not. What a load of cobblers

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 272.

    Young people are more at pressure than ever before to get out of debt thanks to the disgusting way in which labour govt pillaged the country's finances..people are starting families later, buying houses later, who the hell has the time to look into politics...they've bullied the public into a mindset where we accept being squeezed like a sponge by govt. and councils as a part of life...

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 271.

    This call is purely for partisan purposes, as the liberal left knows that young people are more likely to vote for liberal left parties, being naive.

 

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