Discuss the view that the decline In Turnout at elections is the most important trend in voting’
Election commonly understood as a period of time during which all citizens entitled to vote, decide to choose their candidate by casting a ballot. Turnout is a number of voters who actually participated in the elections. In the course of this paper I`m going to discuss if a lower turnout is a popular trend nowadays and if yes, what are the reasons for that.
First of all, differences between parties have diminished since some of the big issues of the past like Capitalism versus Communism and peace and warfare, of the cold war have ceased to be so relevant. Nowadays, the distinction between party programs are often not fundamental ones. Most of the people vote for some political party because of charismatic leader at the head of it. If there is no charismatic leader they choose not to vote since the differences in political programs are not substantial. This leads us to the point that many voters across Europe and America seem disillusioned with the performance of parties in office and politicians who represent them. In the 70s,80s and even 90s had been much bigger than nowadays. In Britain since 1997, the voter turnout is slowly decreasing. Another reason for that may be the increasing importance of various pressure groups. Descendants of the commited voters of yesterday are today`s pressure group campaigners who see pressure groups as a better way to influence the governments policy that taking part in general elections. Pressure groups can represent all points of view within the society, being a true voice of the people. It seems that people care more about quality-of-life issues such as ecology or rights of the minority groups. Pressure groups arguably represent those causes more effectively than do the parties that contest elections.
On the other hand lower turnout might not be a sing of political apathy and resentment but may reflect broader contentment. Some may feel that they do not need to go out and vote because everything seems to be going along satisfactorily. Another reason may be elections for the European Parliament. Since European legislation overrules the national level one, voters might find it more useful to take part in election for MEP`s which turnout had risen from 31,6 in 1979 to 38,8 in 2004.
In the conclusion I want to say that all aforementioned factors cause that , lower turnout in general elections is inevitable. People tend to participate in the politics in many other ways somehow undermining the idea of choosing MP`s. Referendums, initiative, and recall vote are institutions of direct democracy which I think are going to be very popular in some future. Compulsory voting is not an answer for anything. You cant force people to take part in political life, you need to educate them .Moreover I think that democracies are swiftly drifting from representative type toward direct democracy. Its also just a matter of time till European Legislation will become even more powerful. All this factors are going to lower elections turnout in the future until some sort of direct Democracy would be entered in force.