Emptied of expectation. Relax. (tinyjo) wrote,
Emptied of expectation. Relax.
tinyjo

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Voting

Last night, they were talking about voting as I lay in the bath listening drowsily to Radio 4. About the drop in turnout and the plans to revitalise it using postal voting, and possibly text message and online voting in the near future. Before I go on to ramble about my thoughts on this, I've got a poll for you to fill out.

Poll #216990 Voting

Were you eligible to vote in the last UK general election?

Yes
20(74.1%)
No (stop now, don't fill out the rest of the poll)
7(25.9%)

Did you?

Yes
18(81.8%)
No; I didn't feel I knew enough to make a choice
1(4.5%)
No; I didn't feel that any of the available choices represented my views
0(0.0%)
No; I felt that the result was a forgone conclusion in my constituency
0(0.0%)
No; all the choices are pretty much the same anyway
0(0.0%)
No; I couldn't be bothered
0(0.0%)
No; I was too busy
0(0.0%)
Never you mind
0(0.0%)
Other (fill in below)
3(13.6%)

Other?

Would availability of any of the following make you more likely to vote?

Postal voting
1(11.1%)
Online voting
3(33.3%)
Text message voting
0(0.0%)
Email voting
0(0.0%)

Would you support compulsary voting?

Yes
1(4.5%)
Yes, if there was a "None of the above" option
10(45.5%)
No
8(36.4%)
Other (fill in below)
3(13.6%)

Other?



See whenever I listen to one of these pieces there seems to be an underlying assumption that the reason people didn't vote is that it's too difficult for them somehow. They can't cope with dragging themselves all the way to the polling booth. And I'm sure this is true for some people. It's just not true for any of the people I've talked to about their non-voting*. And no-one ever quotes the statistics, making me wonder if there are even any. Perhaps they just don't support the "it's too difficult" thesis.

To cap it all, I'm pretty suspicious of some of the alternative means of voting that have been suggested. There doesn't seem to be any way for me, the voter, to be positive that my phone number has been stripped from any text vote I make for example. At least at the polling booth I can make a visual check that there's no identifying marks on my slip. The same goes for online voting as there will have to be a way to authenticate me as me before I cast my vote - otherwise I could potentially vote several times or vote online and then at the polling booth later. Even postal voting has its risks - after all, I could easily collect and complete Alex's vote before he's woken up enough to notice it - although it is now pretty well established as an alternate means to vote. The risk is of a different nature here though - there's more possibility for electoral fraud, but anonymity is still preserved. The trouble is, no-one gives us the details. Trials of text-message voting and online voting have been postponed for the moment, but it's not an idea that's going to go away, because the politicians will do anything rather than believe that we just don't want any of them.

*If the BBC are allowed to draw sweeping conclusions from vox-pops of about 3 people in the street then so am I, damn it!
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