I took part in a live Q&A for The Guardian (May 2014), alongside and a range of other experts in the democracy field, discussing how to increase turnout in local elections. The Guardian’s Sarah Marsh picked out the best of the suggestions made.
It has been a big week for local government with residents taking to the polls to vote on who should represent them locally. However, turnout is predicted to be around 36%, which – although an improvement from 31% last year – is still low. What can be done to get more people voting?
Technology can improve things, but not on its own
People do not trust politicians to listen to them. If things are broken at that level, no technology is going to change it. The change has got to come from the people and the politicians.
– Anthony Carpen is a social media trainer and community activist.
• Election information is very poor
In the UK, election information is very poor. It is very difficult to find out local election results, as Democratic Audit has shown.
The only way most of us can vote locally is by electing a ward councillor (except if you have a mayor), but if you went to the BBC, Electoral Commission, Guardian, etc to find out who won your local ward, you will not find it.
– Richard Berry is a researcher for Democratic Audit.