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Saturday, June 22, 2024
EditorialsUp Front 07/08

Up Front 07/08

New plans to encourage more people to take part in elections include the suggestion of weekend voting. Instead of the traditional Thursday vote, we would be able to vote over a 48-hour period on a Saturday and Sunday. Apparently up to 6% more people vote when elections are held on Sundays. Unsurprisingly, a consultation document on the issue has already sparked debate on whether this might be a bad idea, due in part to possible conflict with religious beliefs, as well as the extra costs incurred by weekend voting – an estimated £58M from taxpayers. This comes at a time when the democratic voting process seems to be failing. In Zimbabwe the ruling Zanu-PF party have perpetrated so much violence and intimidation that the opposition party have decided it is too dangerous to stand for election. A recent Commons vote in the UK to approve 42-days detention for suspected terrorists, only squeezed through when the Government promised favours to some of those that voted with them – as a result one MP resigned in protest. In Ireland, a no vote on the EU treaty so infuriated Europhiles that many suggested the vote be run again until the answer is yes. And after the Florida debacle, when George Bush was elected on questionable recounts in 2001, it is anyone’s guess what might happen if a black democrat looks like being elected in the coming US election. Freedom to vote may be one of the basic principles of democracy but lately it’s hard to believe it’s worth getting out of bed at the weekend for.

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