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How effectively do elections ensure that the ‘people’ are represented?
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Dec 17th, 2019

How effectively do elections ensure that the ‘people’ are represented?

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Introduction

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This report is designed to demonstrate the specifics of the election process. Along with the increase in popularity of democracy in the world, the elections have become the integral duty of each citizen in the native country. The proclamations that each vote is counted have become the slogan for each election process.

However there are still numerous debates about the role of people in elections, since the proportion of citizens does not consider voting to be important for them. As a result, it is important to identify what strategies are applied in order to ensure that the citizens are present for voting in elections. The report will cover the description of elections and the process of voting. Furthermore, it will look into the main reasons behind the inability to vote. Finally, the main strategies that are applied to make sure that people are present for voting will be covered.

Elections

Elections are seen as the most important event in any native country, in case of this report, in the UK. People are given the chance to choose how the country will be run over the next couple of years. However, it is the fairness and freedom of elections that contributes to the essence of democracy (Grant, 2000). In the UK, the elections take place in 600 locations in one day. Citizens are able to cast their votes in any of these locations for both a political party and their representatives. There are three major parties in the UK, which are always running for the place in the parliament, namely the Conservative Party, the Labour Party and Liberal Democrats (Garner and Kelly, 1998). The candidates promote their campaigns until the election day, when the citizens cast their votes. The party with the biggest amount of votes wins the elections (Garner and Kelly, 1998). The party that has collected the biggest number of votes also gets a chance to develop a government, where the representative becomes the Prime Minister (Reeve and Ware, 1991).

However, one of the biggest challenges nowadays is to ensure a fair and free election. This implies that there are a number of assumptions that elections are not regarded to be objective, thus adopting the bias feature within the process. Daily Mail, (2011) has reported that bias may be tracked in the recent elections in favour of theLabour Party. This suggests that the Labour Party seat is much smaller than of the Tory’s party. This demonstrates that the Labour Party may win with only 3 % more than the other parties. This suggests the disproportionality in the electoral system of the UK. This, in turn, adds to the unfairness as being perceived by the citizens (Johnston, Pattie and Dorling, 2001). This is correlated with a low voting percentage in the UK. Guardian, (2012) suggests that the voters’ count has decreased from 84 % in 1950 to 65 % in 2010. As a result, it is important to apprehend the reasons behind such a dramatic slip in the voters’ count and what is done in order to ensure that citizens are voting. One of the most common reasons is attributed to the lack of trust in the government. This suggests that people think that the government does not care about them and that voting does not play any role in the future of the country and personal citizen’s well-being (Moore, 2001). Other reasons include lack of knowledge about the voting process and lack of interest in politics. This implies that currently, with the rise in the economic recession, the citizens are more preoccupied with their own welfare rather than with the general well-being of the country. This is related to the lack of concern over their own country’s well-being (Moore, 2001). Given the recent recession, the majority of citizens see that the politicians do not affect their well-being and this, in turn, results in the lack of willingness and desire, to vote for any.

Lack of trust was further intensified by the so-called strategies that aim at the facilitation of the voting process (Newton and van Deth, 2005). For instance, currently, the citizens may cast their votes via Internet, telephone and other interactive applications. This contributes to the increase of lack of trust, due to the feature of innovation attributed to this process. Kim et al., (2004) suggest that the majority of consumers tend to be reluctant to utilize the innovative technology, due to the possible rising issues in security and privacy protection. Given the importance of this one vote per citizen, this fear increases. It is especially attributed to the case of loyal voters, who have been voting since young adulthood (Moore, 2001). As the result, they are more used to the traditional voting system, contrary to the innovative solutions. This, in turn, results in the lack of trust in the voting system. Other than that, the image of the party is important along with the message that they communicate to the citizens (Coxal and Robbins, 1998). If the message does not correlate with the personal values of a voter, the voter may simply choose to refuse to cast the vote.

In line with these reasons, globalization has also played a part in the decline of the voters’ count (Lane, 2008). This implies that the majority of citizens have relocated to another country and this has driven the lack of desire to cast the votes, since they no longer live in their native country. Other reasons are attributed to the inconvenience of the voting office location. In the light of the above described reasons, what is done in order to ensure that the citizens are present to cast their votes?

The role of people in elections

One of the main strategies is attributed to the media promotion of electoral campaigns. Druckmann, (2005) suggests that TV and Newspapers tend to have a major effect on the voters’ attitude towards the elections. This suggests that in terms of coverage, TV is an important tool in influencing the voters’ decision.

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However, it has been further stated that in terms of the content, there are no major differences between newspaper and TV. This implies that the voters may only see one side of a story as promoted by the media. This in turn determines the perceived image of a political party and affects consumer associations in relation to this party (Druckmann, 2005).

Gibson, (2008) has identified the importance of the Internet in the promotion of a political party and the importance of voting. This implies that the politics have started to utilize the Internet extensively in order to develop the favourable image. It is especially attributed to the utilization of social media. This implies that the politics have started to utilize Twitter and Facebook as the main platform for interaction with the voters. This has taken the personalization element, where the voters feel that they may personally interact with the political candidates. It has been especially visible, in the case of Barack Obama’s elections in 2008. He has maintained an e-mail communication with all the subscribed voters. The voters, in turn, have had the opportunity to forward the e-mails to their peers, thus contributing to the snowballing effect (Thinking Aloud, 2009). This campaign has been featured in top 10 internet moment in the last decade by the New York Academy of Digital Art and Sciences (Daily Telegraph, 2009).

With regard to the social media, the campaign included the subscriptions to the major social networks, namely YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. In addition to this, these social networks were used as the basis for communication, interaction and further promotion of Obama’s campaign (Wagner, 2008). As a result of this campaign, Obama has won the elections, with high voter turn out. It has been estimated that, in 2012, some states in the USA have averaged above 60 % of voter turnout (CSMonitor, 2012). This suggests that an internet-based campaign is effective in ensuring that the citizens cast their votes. However, it has been further estimated in this report, that there have been the assumptions on the subject of voting frauds. This implies that the majority of ballots were distributed via mails, which suggest that some of them were utilized for fraudulent purposes. In the UK, fraudulent activity is quite popular, where the government integrates special strategies in fighting with it. Given the fact that 7 million voters have registered for postal voting, the fraudulent activity has been at the highest in 2010 (Daily Mail, 2010). This implies that the people were not present for casting their votes, since their votes were stolen. This has been especially intensified in the Tower Hamlets area, where around 5,000 voters registered shortly prior to the deadline. As a result, due to the time constraints, these voters have not been checked (Daily Mail, 2010). The assumptions have stated that the results of General Elections were decided by the fraudulent votes. Other events suggest the intimidation of the voters in order to give their vote to other people (Daily Mail, 2010). The assumption of bribery might also take place as part of the fraudulent activity. Therefore, the voters, may not contribute to the voting process thus stating their opinion as to how the country should be governed in the future, due to the flaws in the electoral system. This may be related to the fact that the voters have the ability to vote by post, which is regarded to be an insecure way of voting. It is therefore essential to provide the opportunity to vote at the place, where citizen’s identity may be determined.

Conclusion

This report has been composed in order to demonstrate the role of citizen’s presence in the process of elections. It has been identified that the majority of citizens tend to disregard their right to vote. There are a number of reasons behind that. For instance, the citizens tend to experience lack of trust in the government, in the current political system. Furthermore, the citizens are preoccupied with their own well-being, thus placing little attention to the government’s future. Another reason is attributed to the method of voting, where electronic and/or mail voting may be perceived as insecure; thus resulting in a high possibility of fraudulent activity. Media promotes the election thus covering almost all the regions by the means of TV and newspapers. However, as Obama’s case demonstrated, it is social media and the Internet that tends to play the largest role in increasing the importance of voting. This implies that the voters get the opportunity of personal interaction with the political candidates and this contributes to their willingness to cast their votes. The government and police are fighting against the fraudulent activity; however it is still regarded to be high in some regions. The main reasons behind that are attributed to the fact that the electoral system gives the opportunities to the individuals to perform the fraudulent activity, for instance by integration the postal service for casting the votes.

References:

Coxall B. and Robbins, L. (1998). Contemporary British Politics: an Introduction. Palgrave: London

CS Monitor. (2012). Voter turnout: the 6 states that rank highest, and why. Available from: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Elections/2012/1106/Voter-turnout-the-6-states-that-rank-highest-and-why/Oregon (Accessed on 27/12/12)

Druckmann J. (2005). Media Matter: How Newspapers and Television

News Cover Campaigns and Influence Voters. Political Communication, Vol.22, pp. 463-481

Daily Mail. (2011). Voting system is biased towards Labour because of uneven size of constituencies, warns report. Available from: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1343875/British-voting-biased-Labour-constituencies-uneven-size.html (Accessed on 27/12/12)

Daily Mail. (2010). Postal vote fraud: 50 criminal inquiries nationwide amid fears bogus voters could swing election. Available from: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/election/article-1271457/General-Election-2010-Postal-vote-fraud-amid-fears-bogus-voters-swing-election.html (Accessed on 27/12/12)

Garner, R.and Kelly, R.(1998). British Political Parties Today. Manchester University Press: UK.

Grant, W. (2000) Pressure Groups and Politics. Macmillan: UK

Guardian. (2012). People haven’t turned to the right. They just don’t vote. Available from: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jun/11/voters-have-not-turned-right (Accessed on 27/12/12)

Johnston R., Pattie C., Danny Dorling, David Rossiter. (2001). From Votes To Seats: The Operation of the UK Electoral System since 1945. Manchester University Press: UK

Kim S.S., Malhotra K.N., Agarwal J. (2004). Internet Users’ Information Privacy Concerns (IUIPC): The Construct, the Scale, and a Causal Model. Information Systems Research, Vol.15, Iss. 4, pp. 336 -355

Lane J. (2008). Globalization: The Juggernaut of the 21st Century. Ashgate: UK

Moore S. (2001). Sociology Alive! Third Edition. 3rd ed., Nelson Thomes: UK

Newton, K. & van Deth, J.W. (2005). Pressure Groups and Social Movements. . Cambridge: UK

Reeve, A., Ware, A. (1991). Electoral Systems. Routledge: UK

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