EU elections 2014: how to get the voters to the polling stations?

Upcoming EU elections (from 22- 25 May) have renewed public debate about the low voter turnout and thus crisis of democracy in Europe. UK voters, particularly in case of EU elections, have always been quite passive: in 1999 only 23% of the eligible voters voted, whilst in 2004 and 2009 it rose to 38% and 34% respectively. Politicians and campaigners are worried that  this year the trend of decreasing activity will continue and various initiatives are planned to encourage people to take part in these elections.

Besides a very complex voting system which includes registration long time before elections, my simple question is: how on Earth one can expect a great voter turnout if the elections are organized on Thursday? I would find it close to impossible to get the time off, go to a polling station and give my vote. Moreover, there are so many people who do hourly-paid work which would mean that they would incur loss in income if they chose to vote instead of working. With the exception of Latvia (voting on Sunday, 25 May), Czech republic and Slovakia (voting on 23 and/or 24 May) and Ireland (voting on Friday 23 May), the rest of the EU countries organize the elections on Saturday, 24 May (check for reference here). Why UK wants to stand out and organize elections on Thursday? what is the rationale? Is there a logical reason of not doing it over the weekend?

In 2009 in Latvia voters’ turnout was about 56%. What if there is a direct correlation between the election day and voters’ turnout?


3 thoughts on “EU elections 2014: how to get the voters to the polling stations?

  1. Maybe it is because England doesn’t want to employ voting organizers on the weekends, when the pay rate could be bigger. Actually, this I don’t understand since I moved to the UK. Do British know an answer? Would be interesting to hear reason?

  2. they should assign MEP in proportion with the people attending to vote in each country that will show the real interest from countries and governments to promote the EU institutions. Anyway the European Parliament is empty of content and people are becoming more and more distant to it…

  3. that’s an interesting idea! It may indeed be an effective motivator to get people to the voting stations. however, i disagree on the emptiness of EP. The problem is that we know just too little what’s happening there and what kind of decisions are made affecting people’s lives. if that was not true, Brussels would not be the second biggest hub of lobbyists after D.C.

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