Alliance Party Leader, David Ford MLA, has responded to Geoff Hoon’s call for compulsory voting in UK elections, by stating that instead the effort needs to be to empower individuals with a sense that their vote actually counts, as a better way to improve voter participation and civic engagement.
Mr Ford said:
“Like Mr Hoon, I want to enhance civic participation and a greater sense of working together. However, there is little merit in increasing voting turnout by compulsion, if voters still don’t feel that their vote actually means anything.
“Instead, the concentration needs to be on providing an electoral system where one’s vote actually counts. The best example of this has been our own experience with proportional representation and the single-transferable vote system in Northern Ireland. Evidence shows that voting turnout is higher in PR-STV elections, because people know that their individual vote is more likely to be reflected and respected in the final result.
“My advice to Mr Hoon is for him to explore the greater use of the PR-STV electoral system.
“We don’t need advice from a member of the Government that has done its best to ignore the wishes of elected local councils and the elected Parliament, with Tony Blair absent more than any other memorable Prime Minister.”