Voter turnout has become an issue for majority of governments in Europe. The voters turning out for an election are decreasing elections after an election. As a result, the governments as well as the experts in the field are bothered. All the relevant stakeholders want to understand the cause of voters' low turnout and the possible ways of salvaging the situation. For instance, during the 2017 general elections only 69% of the electorate turned up for the general elections. This means that 31% of the voters were un interested in participating in the elections due to several reasons. Low voter turnout was also experienced during the Brexit referendum elections. There several reasons that experts think are the causes of low voter turnout across the European union. One of such causes is voter apathy. Experts in political affairs strongly feel that voter apathy has been increasing in the UK over the years. Increase in voter apathy has been resulting to low voter turnout after every year.
Voter Apathy refers to a situation where voters express lack of interests in elections. In other words, the voters do not want to practice their democratic rights. These voters simply are not mindful about who is elected for a certain political position. Voter apathy makes the voters to feel that voting is optional because the voters to not believe that politicians will cause positive impacts on their lives.at the same time voters apathy escalates because the eligible voters of a certain nation are aware that they are not likely to face jurisdictions for failing to exercise their democratic right. Therefore, this research seeks to investigate whether voter apathy has influence on low voters' turnout.
Is low voter turnout a result of voter apathy?
Null hypothesis: Voter apathy causes low voter turnout in United Kingdom
Alternative hypothesis: Voter apathy does not cause low voter turnout in United Kingdom
The phrase democratic deficit refers to the short fallings of government and government institutions to fulfil the principles of democracy. It is clear that low voter turnout has become a problem and is a key contributing factor to the democratic deficit in the UK. There was a record turnout in the 2017 General Election for a UK-wide poll with 69% of the electorate casting their vote (Electoral Commission, 2019). However, with almost a third of the electorate failing to vote it is a worrying sign that this figure represents the highest level of participation. It also becomes questionable as to how representative these results are, and it becomes clear that turnout needs to improve. I am conducting this research as by determining the main cause of low voter turnout, we can come up with relevant solutions to try and increase participation. This will only help strengthen democratic processes in the UK. The theory that is going to be at the center of my research is rational choice theory. Andrew Hindmoor describes rational choice as individuals acting in ways which 'best secure their goals, and that these goals reflect their self-interest' (Hindmoor, 2006). We can link the idea of individuals weighing up costs and rewards to voter turnout through the paradox of voting theory. This states that for a rational, self-interested voter, the costs of voting will outweigh the benefits (Downs, 1957). I will use this theory as a framework for my research as I investigate the reasons for low voter turnout.
In the half a century voter turnout in United Kingdom has been reducing. For instance, in in 1975 elections the voter turnout was 75. % and the low turnout was experienced every year since then. For instance, in 2001 UK elections the total turnout of the voters was 59.1% of the register voters (Statista, 2020). The voter's turnout in every subsequent election has been increasing but at a lower rate. Since then the highest number of voter turnout that has been experienced in UK elections is 72.2% during the Brexit elections (Statista, 2020). This means that the Europeans are slowly having trust in elections' hence the increase in the percentage of voter turnout. It is thought the Brexit elections experienced higher voters' turnout because voters expected this election would have resulted to change in political systems of the country.
The behavior of voters during an election is explained in various theories. One of such theories is the voting Paradox (Dhillon, A. and Peralta, S., 2002). The aim of this paradox is to explain the reason for a voter to spend time learning and participating in elections. In other words, the voters feel want to understand and appreciate the interests of the voters. Simply the voter is evaluating whether spending time on the poles and other resources is really worth the sacrifice. This means that if the voter doesn't find the reasons for participating in a general or a referendum election, the voter is likely to boycott the election.
Another political theory that refers to the trends adopted by the voters is the indeterminacy paradox's paradox simply revolves around understanding the concern of the voters over the persons that they elected (Dhillon, A. and Peralta, S., 2002). It is important to understand the reasons for electorates deciding to vote for a particular reason. If voters consider this concept heavily, they are less likely to participate in the elections. A lot of care over the politician's characters results to voters scrutinizing the politicians thoroughly. during the scrutiny there is a possibility of voters discoursing that some politicians are unlikely to meet their expectations. The review of the politicians' track records also happens at this stage if they are served in elective positions before. Caring too much one the political aspirants means that voters will be discouraged to vote. The discouragement arises from the fact that most of voters' concerns are more likely to be unfulfilled.
Another aspect of voters' low turnout in elections across the European union is the paradox of ignorance (Downs, 1957). Majority of the voters have a tendency of ignoring the information available about politicians and elections. Availability of information is normally costly and there is a possibility of ignorance.as a result the decision-making process of voters is likely to be impaired. In other words when the voters do not understand the structure of the political information available, they are likely to boycott elections. Again, ignorance to information means that the voters do not understand the manifestos of the listed politicians. Ignorance to information also means that that voters do not understand the impacts of not exercising their democratic rights. Consequently, voters fail to show at the pulling stations as per the expected numbers.
Proper research methods result to great data collection methods. Therefore, this research is based on proper collection of data. The research methods using in this study are surveys and interviews. Both the surveys are the interviews are carried out in United Kingdom which is the geographical location of the study. The survey is exercised randomly on the voters while the interviews are exercised on the United Kingdom electoral body and some few politicians. The survey research method is appropriate for this research because the data collected will be used to represent the views of the entire country. Survey method also makes its easy for random collection of data within different small locations. Furthermore, surveys provided a room for equal chances for the selection of the participants to participant in the study. This reduces the possibility of biasness during the study.
On the other hand, Interviewing is another research method appropriate for the study. The interviews are essential because they will enable the researchers to understand some concepts that aught to be explained by specific individuals. These individuals include members of the electoral body that is the chairman of UK electoral body and other top officials within the organization. The top politicians including interviews with an official from the office of the prime minister will also be carried out. Top politicians and the department dealing with the country's democracy will provide representatives that will participate in the study. Furthermore, the interview questions structured to be assigned to all the interviewees will be similar. Furthermore, interviews are thought to be efficient for the study and they will include lesser time. Its more appropriate to interview top officials of different state officials than to send them questionnaires or any other method of data collection.
It is important for every researcher to understand the various existing data collection methods. The understanding enables the research to identify the appropriate data collection method for a particular type of study. There are several data collection methods and they have some distinct characteristics. Some of the methods include observation, experimentation, questionnaires, interviews, experimentations and review of the secondary sources. However, the appropriateness of the data collection depends on the study or research being carried on it. Comparison between the strengths and weaknesses of questionnaires and interviews data collection methods, experience and challenges faced when using the two data collection methods is the main purpose of interviews.
The similarities between the strengths and weaknesses of questionnaires and interviews include: both are easy to administer as they can be administered in groups. Data collected via interviews and questionnaires are easy to analyze. Both suitable for confirmation and exploration. Finally, both data collection methods have the questions being structured as either open-ended or close-ended (Matri 2017). The common weaknesses for the questionnaires and interviews are that they suffer from reactive comments. These means the respondents only answer the questions that are desirable to them socially. Another weakness is that in the case of open-ended items data analysis is time-consuming for both data collection methods. Another common weakness is a validation of the measures used during data collection is a major necessity.
The differences between the strengths and weakness of questionnaires and interviews are as follows. Interviews enable the data collectors to effectively measure the mood, attitudes and the areas of interest, however, questionnaires are not bothered by the attitudes and moods of respondents. Preparation of the questionnaires is more time consuming than the interviews.it is easier to persuade an interviewee to answer your specific question however in the case of the questionnaires the respondent may select the questionnaires to answer and leave the rest unanswered.
The experience of using both questionnaires and interview data collection method for the previous paper has been awesome. The interviews enabled me to collect the data I wanted from the commanders and the supervisors of the military veterans' was able to collect even the most sensitive information that the commanders were not willing to reveal as far as the mental health of the veterans was concerned (Taylor, Bogdan & DeVault 2015). The questionnaires enabled me to obtain the classified information from the veterans since the details conveyed remained confidential. Therefore, their seniors would not know who communicated what during the study.
Using interviews was a bit challenging because a number of interviewees were not cooperative. There were mental health practitioners that claimed they were too busy to be interviewed. Others were not responding to the questions asked but were off the topic. Additionally, the exercise also consumed a longe...
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