So, we’ve just had elections for local councillors and members of the European parliament and we’ve had yet another demonstration that democracy simply doesn’t work when you’ve got a population of lazy idiots casting votes. I can be that benevolent dictator you never knew you needed if you’d only give me a chance. But that aside, and ignoring the minor success of the UKIP party (thanks in no small part to near blanket coverage in the media whilst ignoring all the other small political groups), one of the big concerns about elections these days is voter apathy and the subsequent low voter turnout. Right now we have a situation where a small percentage of the inhabitants of a country or county or ward can shape the way that everyone there lives which is hardly representative of what democracy is supposed to be. You may as well have a benevolent dictator in that case – me, for instance; I’d be great in case you didn’t know I was interested in the job – so if we want to still promote the democratic process to the rest of the world we really need a way to increase voter turnout going forwards.
I’ve come up with some suggestions. None of these suggestions address the problem of voters picking stupid parties but that’s nothing that better education, better rules governing media coverage of politics, and better punishments for idiocy from roving gangs of concerned citizens couldn’t sort out.
Voter Apathy Surcharge
A lot of people don’t vote but then complain when things aren’t governed in the way in which they’d like. These people are annoying to the rest of the population who did make an effort to enact change and they should be punished for their laziness accordingly. The Voter Apathy Surcharge both punishes the apathetic and raises money to be used locally thereby offsetting the annoyance factor somewhat.
How it works: the existing council tax is doubled. When the election comes around all residents of a house are checked off when they turn up to vote and once everyone in a house who’s eligible to vote has done so that doubling of the tax is removed.
- this still allows the electorate to exercise a right not to vote
- the local area benefits directly from apathetic voters
- it’s a bit dull
If we can’t encourage people to want to vote for the good of the country then perhaps we can encourage people to want to vote for their own lives.
How it works: polling stations are stocked with a vaccine that protects against a virus specially designed for the election. Once you vote you are vaccinated and those ineligible to vote are vaccinated too. After the election the virus is released and those who didn’t bother to turn up to cast a vote have to take their chances that they’ve got natural immunity or that this election’s particular virus isn’t a fatal one.
- turns Britain into a world leader where it comes to scientific research related to viruses
- culls the population of anti-vaxxers
- gradually builds up layers of protection against viruses for British people making us the healthiest people in the world
- job creation opportunities: scientists, vaccine security, vaccinators, pickers-up of the dead
- may kill or disfigure a lot of tourists in the wake of an election
- rest of the planet may not look too favourably on Britain being the source of a pandemic
A way to encourage voting through fear that also entertains the population and won’t cause the rest of the world to consider nuking Britain.
How it works: following an election the turnout in each voting ward is determined as a percentage. A number of wards with the lowest percentage voting turnouts across the country are then surrounded by the army with orders to shoot anyone leaving. Hungry lions are then released into the wards and their progress over a week of hunting down food is followed by drones and broadcast live. Phone voting allows viewers to instruct the drones to destroy doors making things extra interesting for the inhabitants keen to prevent leonine incursions.
- increases the profile of lions who are grossly underrepresented on television
- gives the army much needed practice at shooting civilians
- encourages community spirit as people rally around to make sure everyone is voting
It looks like the answer to increasing voter turnout is lions then.