Should we be forced to vote in General Elections?

PUBLISHED: 11:25 20 April 2015 | UPDATED: 17:19 23 April 2015

Photo: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Photo: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

People are being urged to register to vote in the general election ahead of the deadline at midnight tonight.

Anyone who submits an application after the cut-off will not be able to have their say on May 7.

According to the Electoral Commission, there have been more than 1.7 million applications to register to vote in the past five weeks, with almost 470,000 online applications coming from 16 to 24-year-olds.

But its research also suggests there may be as many as 7.5 million unregistered voters.

Celebrities and politicians are among those who have taken to social media platforms in an 11th-hour attempt to get people signed up.

Satirist Armando Iannucci, who created the political sitcom The Thick of It, held a Twitter forum yesterday to answer questions about why people should vote.

Actor Ralf Little posted on his account: “Feel disillusioned? Even if you only vote to keep out the person you hate most, it all counts.”

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett and shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves also reminded their Twitter followers to register in time.

Meanwhile, reality star Joey Essex has been filming a special political edition of his new show Educating Joey Essex in the hope of getting more young people interested in politics.

Jenny Watson, Electoral Commission chairwoman, said: “This is your last chance to register to vote if you want to make your voice heard on 7 May. It takes just a few minutes to apply to register online, so do it now.

“We don’t want anyone to miss out, but if you miss the deadline on 20 April and then try to vote you will be turned away from the polling station on election day. Make sure this doesn’t happen to you.”

To register to vote, visit or return a paper application in person to your local council headquarters before the deadline.


  • Nobody should be forced to vote in an unfair and disproportional election., why? The onus is on politicians to tell us why they are not prepared to give English voters the choice of fair proportional systems, rather than try and ram their own option, the worst possible option, down our throats, as they see fit. Make voting fair, abolish postal voting for the lazy by enabling those who really can't to vote at home on the day, just as Ireland does. The most common fraud with postal voting involves perverting peoples personal choice and vote, and much of it is a regular occurrence. The main political parties have known off this and worked within this fraud, each and everyone to their advantage.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Thursday, April 23, 2015

  • @marty r - I don't think that about Australia, and it's not what I said either. I said it was the thin end of the wedge meaning it is the beginning of something not the conclusion. Nice try though, thanks for the laugh!

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    Tuesday, April 21, 2015

  • I think we'd do better to educate our youth about the UK political system. The first time that I was old enough to vote I didn't have a clue what it was all about. I appreciate that it's probably a difficult subject to teach without bias, though. I personally think that compulsory voting is a terrible idea. Forcing scores of people to vote who aren't politically engaged would be very destabilising, without any of us getting a desired result I suspect.

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    Monday, April 20, 2015

  • I have voted at every election that I have been able to even though I knew it would not make a jot of difference as I have never lived in a seat that is even remotely marginal. That lack of even having a small say in matters is why a large number of people do not vote. Shame the electoral reform vote was lost. Currently I have to say there is not a single party standing in my seat that meets even 50% of my opinion but I will still feel obliged to vote

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    Monday, April 20, 2015

  • ""Compulsory voting is the thin end of the wedge to totalitarianism."" Politicians, globally, are not given much freedom to act by their bosses - I mean the powerful 1% who wield the power that in effect controls us all with the stick and carrot. Democracy with a one-party system. Most people don't want to admit the truth, that influence only resides with money.

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    Monday, April 20, 2015

  • There is compulsory voting in Australia which works well but I do like the idea of a "none of the above" box. It would win most seats and lead to people changing their name to Mr None of the above!

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    Bob Smith

    Monday, April 20, 2015

  • Australia has had compulsory voting for decades. Don't think that Australia is a totalitarian state, do you?..................And Yes to "None of the above" option.

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    marty r

    Monday, April 20, 2015

  • Compulsory voting is the thin end of the wedge to totalitarianism. Citizens should be free to vote or not, it's their choice. All I would say is that, in my opinion, if you don't vote you can't complain at what you get. The backdrop of austerity makes this the least interesting election for sometime, the majority of the choices are devoid of any real hope for change. With the few parties that offer something difference only offering something far worse and regressive than the rest.

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    Monday, April 20, 2015

  • The real problem about low turnout is the politicians! They are the most uninspiring crowd ever. I have yet to see any evidence that Cameron actually wants to win, Milliband seems to be the most far left 'leader' of Labour that we have seen for many years and who would trust Clegg?

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    Monday, April 20, 2015

  • Agreed - if you're registered to vote then you should take part in any election, even if it's to tick the "None of the above" box. I've had several conversations with people over the years where they've complained about the government of the time (different colours over the years) but when I ask them who they voted for they say "Oh, I didn't bother because it wouldn't make any difference." In the current political landscape, all the non-voting people could make a big difference to how parliament looks. The "None of the above" box would be interesting as it would show that people either don't trust or believe in the parties presented in their area, so it would be a wake-up call to the politicians to find out what's really important.

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    Monday, April 20, 2015

  • I wouldn't be adverse to compulsory voting, providing there was a box to vote for "None of the above" on every ballot paper. That way disillusioned voters could register a protest vote without having to resort to spoiling their papers, and then politicians might get the message that virtually none of them truly represent their so called "hard working families)

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    Monday, April 20, 2015

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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