Compulsory voting is not the way forward

A proposal to make voting a “civic obligation” is not the right way forward.

Wednesday, 18th February 2015, 6:00 am
a voter placing a ballot paper in the ballot box at the polling station Photo: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

It is sad the turnout at election time is usually depressingly low but I do not think we should force people to vote.

Labour MP David Winnick’s motion to make it a “civic obligation” is to be debated in the House of Commons.

What is really needed is to engage people in politics, locally and nationally, though that is a hard task as professional politicians have made it so boring.

But it can be done. Think of Scotland’s independence referendum which resulted in an 85% turnout. People engaged on both sides of the debate and we should learn lessons from that.

A proportional voting system would be a better way and could well encourage the electorate to make their views known at the ballot box.

Postal voting has been pushed as a way of increasing the vote, but that comes with the danger of electoral fraud, as has been demonstrated in various parts of the country.

The turnout at local elections is particularly low, except when it coincides with a General Election but even then the turnout in 2010 was only 65.%.

I would love to see a much higher turnout, but people are entitled to make their own decisions in life and compulsory voting is not the way.

Paul Nuttall

UKIP North West MEP