According to a news item in the 30th October edition of The Times, the UK Government plans to close thousands of polling stations and reduce voting hours to cut the cost of elections.
Although later denied by the government, the plans were immediately condemned as a "threat to democracy that would save peanuts" and election officials said the Government was shooting itself in the foot. "There is a real danger that despite years of trying to get the voter to engage, the Government is doing the opposite," said John Turner of the Association of Electoral Administrators.
Critics said the plans would lead to even lower election turnouts. Voter turnout has been falling steadily over the decades with only 61 per cent of the electorate having voted in the 2005 general election compared with 84 per cent in 1950.
But there is another way to cut election costs and increase turnouts. We live in an electronic world and RelayStation believes that more voters would participate in elections if they were given more options on how to cast their votes … not just at the polling station, but also by telephone and text voting at their convenience. Flexible voting, helping those who are ill, immobile, stuck in traffic jams, on holiday would surely encourage more people to participate in the democratic process.