Electoral Reform

The Austrian experience shows that there is little risk and much to gain from giving 16-year-olds the vote

Sadiq Khan recently called for the voting age to be lowered to 16 in the UK. Markus Wagner and Eva Zeglovits examine arguments for and against, arguing that it is a reform that carries few dangers and can motivate schools to reach out to and motivate young people. On 24 January, Labour’s shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan called for the voting age […]

Despite the problems that have beset the elections for Police and Crime Commissioners we must still take them seriously

The criticism of the Police and Crime Commissioner reforms has been lengthy and varied. This week’s elections finally end the tripartite governance structure and replace it with an untested and far from popular new system focused on a single locally elected individual. Despite all the problems and the shortcomings, Tim Newburn argues that the issues involved are too important for […]

UK electoral law is fragmented, convoluted and causing errors in the running of elections. It needs to be consolidated

Toby James discusses the convoluted nature of electoral law in the UK. He argues that a reduction in the complexity will lead to a significant improvement in the conduct of elections in the UK. A quick quiz question: how many pieces of electoral law do you think that electoral administrators have to consider when running elections? Have a guess. Answer: The Electoral Commission has estimated that there over […]

Book Review: Don’t Take No for an Answer: The 2011 Referendum and the Future of Electoral Reform

As political scientists and commentators watch and wait for local election results to come in, what many will find most shocking, although not surprising, are the low voter turn out rates. It seems that the British public remain largely disinterested in elections, a problem also encountered in the 2011 referendum. Kerwin Datu reviews this recent book on the mistakes and delusions of the Yes […]

There will be no general election in 2014. Cameron can’t risk giving Miliband the gravitas boost of being Prime Minister and throwing his own party into turmoil

Responding to Patrick’s Dunleavy’s contention earlier this week that a break-up of the coalition and a general election can be expected as soon as 2014, Mark Pack argues that David Cameron would actually be too worried about giving Ed Miliband an electoral fillip and an easy entry into Downing Street, which in turn could result in a Tory leadership coup […]

The Government’s recent sidelining of the House of Lords highlights the absolute irrelevance of the institution.

Rid of pomp and circumstance, and boasting a newly found political legitimacy, Bart Cammaerts argues that a reformed House of Lords would command the political attention and respect of government.   The utter irrelevance of the House of Lords, in its current form, was highlighted recently by the coalition government’s use of a rather obscure parliamentary rule, based on a […]

Even if the Liberal Democrats vote to oust the Conservatives before 2015 a new general election is still unlikely

Up until this parliament, the date of parliamentary elections could be set by the Prime Minister of the day; now as part of the coalition agreement, election dates are set for every 5 years. In spite of this new rule, Mark Pack looks at the ways that we might seen an election before 2015, and finds that given the current […]

UK electoral registration levels are already low by international standards, but new plans to change registration may make things even worse.

Alongside a suite of other constitutional reforms, the coalition government also plans to change electoral registration from household to individual registration. Toby S. James argues that this change will be expensive to implement and will actually lead to a decline in registration levels, something that the UK can ill afford given its current poor international ranking in this area. The […]