The solution to low voter turnout
The European elections are upon us and, as is traditional during this event, worthy people in the media are wringing their hands at the prospect of fewer than thirty percent of voters turning out to vote. This, it is generally agreed, is a Bad Thing and as usual, we can look forward to the entertaining spectacle of politicians desperately constructing from whole cloth, reasons why those of us, who have the cheek to exercise our right not to vote, are a disgrace to our country. (I sometimes wonder why they bother. Those of us who don't vote, well, don't vote, so it can't be our votes they're angling for. There must be some public choice explanation of this phenomenon.)
As part of this tradition, there will be occasional discussions in the media about what should be done about it and, in keeping with tradition, nobody will propose anything that might actually work. This always disappoints me. It has nothing to do with a lack of solutions to the problem. It's simply a failure of imagination on the part of our politicians.
Here's how to solve the problem of low voter turnout. It was suggested by a friend of mine.
Presently, in British elections, the candidates all pay a deposit. Any candidate who fails to reach some threshold, five percent of the votes cast I think, loses his deposit. Instead, only the winning candidate should keep his deposit.Under this system, every voter is, in effect, being given a free lottery ticket, and who would turn down a free lottery ticket? Additionally, the system is a statistically noisy form of proportional representation that retains the link between an MP and his costituency, thus answering a common objection to PR. It's just the sort of policy the Liberal Democrats could support.
The voters should write their names on the back of their ballot papers, or, if you wish to maintain the secrecy of the ballot, the numbers of their Swiss bank accounts.
Forget about counting the votes; that's a waste of time. Instead, all the ballot papers should be put in a tombola and a single ballot paper pulled out.
The winning ballot paper determines which candidate wins the election.
The lost deposits are paid as a prize to whoever casts the winning vote.
It's so simple. Why hasn't any party proposed it?