30% of non-voters in the 2017 UK General Election did not vote due to the inconvenience of current voting methods, according to a new report by the Electoral Commission.
In their report, Voting in 2017: Understanding public attitudes towards elections and voting, the Electoral Commission found that 19% of non-voters in their survey did not vote because they said they ‘had not had time or were too busy with work.’ A further 11% stated that they were ‘away on polling day.’ A quarter of those that did not vote attributed it to a lack of time.
This indicates that for a significant proportion of non-voters, the inaccessibility of the voting system is more of a hindrance to participation than so-called political apathy. If applied to the 2017 General Election, this would equate to more than 4 million non-voters (4,398,642) as a result of inconvenience. Had these voters participated, voter turnout would have been 78%, the highest in more than 25 years.
Similar issues with inaccessibility were anecdotally reported following the 2016 EU referendum when flash flooding had affected rail networks in the UK.
The report also found a ‘continuing lack of engagement’ amongst young people, particularly for local elections.
Download the Electoral Commission’s report here.