22.53 percent; it beggars belief! Less than a quarter of the available voting electorate made an appearance at the Storrington by-election.
Unsurprisingly of those who cast a vote there was a consistent Conservative and UKIP turnout which made up the majority of those counted ballots.
I can only speculate or provide conjecture as to why the trend for electoral turnout appears to be sliding ever towards indifference and neglect.
Worse for those few who do vote along non traditional lines is that the remaining incumbent parties appear self selecting on the basis that theirs is the remaining part of the electorate who are willing to vote.
Out of these and similar results come the anecdotal evidence that there is little point in turning out to an election as nothing will change from the perspective of the community.
These ideas become reinforced when those considering voting hear the suggestion from our local MP that local issues are for local councillors.
Adding to the confusion; local councillors suggest that decisions may be being made upstream of their authority.
With all the issue fogging and the sloping shoulders of responsibility it cannot be hard to imagine that the many who are uninterested in elections are driven there by local democracy inaction.
Add to this the problems inherent in ‘realpolitik’ as a society whose ideals are now communicated and shared faster than political exigencies. It may be that the vote is losing to the ‘like’.
A large number of academic papers along with reports and graphs are focussed on the question of the downward trend of voters to take part.
Many will, incorrectly, suggest that electronic voting and online voting can improve turn out.
For a clear explanation of the damage electronic voting will do to our democracy read the report titled ‘May 2007 Election Report’ written by the Open Rights Group.
The baby boomer generation appear to be the last generation personally invested in electoral democracy. Certainly my own generation, Generation X and the later Generation Y, feel nothing but frustration at the sense of ‘right to rule’ reflected in the attitudes of some of the elected.
The 2015 elections are not far off. Maybe 2014 is the year in which Councillors and MPs demonstrate clear reasons why voting matters; not just to those who want power but those who want to feel that their vote makes a difference not just a number.