I like voting on a Thursday.  The reason for voting on a Thursday isn’t very obvious, but I can’t think of a better day.  The Ministry of Justice though are looking for reasons to move elections to the weekend or not.

They’ve opened a consultation today on weekend voting and they’re looking for input from stakeholders (but not really the public) on their proposals.

Weekend voting just doesn’t feel right.  I can’t see the upsides of moving the day.  How about you?


Justin Kerr-Stevens · 24th June 2008 at 5:18 pm

For a split second I thought I might be able to provide a response to a Government consultation in two seconds by clicking on a yes/no button… I imagine that could be a quick and easy solution on a wordpress install if they wanted to try it. Might not provide a valid indicator of preference but could show levels of interest… and help work out if a wider campaign was needed.
For the record – I like Sundays.

Shane McCracken · 24th June 2008 at 5:27 pm

‘fraid not. You WILL read the 47 page consultation document and Impact Assessment and write at least 5,000 words in response.
However you will be able to type your response directly into the PDF, but unfortunately you can’t save it and email it back. You have to print it out (did I mention it was 47 pages long) and post it in.

Stephen Collins · 25th June 2008 at 8:51 am

It’s funny, because every time I see discussion about elections outside Australia, people are voting during the week. We only ever vote here on a Saturday for State and Federal elections.

Shane McCracken · 25th June 2008 at 9:13 am

I think France sometimes votes on a Sunday. Seem to remember that for their Presidential campaigns. They are quite clear about the state being secular so that would help.
According to the consultation document countries that vote on a weekend have a 6% higher turnout than the UK but they acknowledge that there is no indication that it is higher because of weekend voting.

Owen Blacker · 25th June 2008 at 10:15 am

To be fair to the government, you can just email the address given in a consultation document with a single-sentence response — it should be treated with just as much value as a big long document.
But, generally, the government isn’t looking for single-sentence responses. Why would it be? In order to formulate good policy, surely that policy needs to be based on evidence. You can’t give much evidence as to a point of view in a single sentence.
But if you want to make brief points, backed up with a little evidence, and leave out all the questions on which you have little or no opinion, you shouldn’t feel anything is stopping you…

Simon Dickson · 25th June 2008 at 10:15 am

I’ve been working on a significant revamp of the Governance of Britain website, which is set to go live tonight / tomorrow. Assuming I can make all the changes in time. Expect blog comment functionality, Google Mapping, and (in time) a *lot* of video. I’ll be doing a writeup at, hopefully later tomorrow… expect that I’ve got another couple of big launches in the next few days. More on those later, too. 🙂

Shane McCracken · 25th June 2008 at 10:25 am

That’s true, but without a transparent consultation process the paranoid among us will always think that the MBE writing a full response from the Govt’s favourite NGO will have more traction (and in many cases it probably should). A lack of transparency aside, it would have been good, and more efficient, if you were able to save the pdf with your comments in and email that to the Ministry. Even better of course would have been to have the consultation online.
As always, I shall look forward to Mark II and the rest. “a lot of video”? Where from? User generated? Or ministry produced?

tim f · 25th June 2008 at 12:01 pm

I think we need to move slowly on this kind of stuff. There are lots of people who get very easily confused about voting and we don’t want to inadvertently disenfranchise them. If we’re looking to change days – give people the option of a couple of days so they can vote on a Thursday OR a Sunday.
I don’t like the idea about electronic voting. Not everyone has internet access. Voting by internet would be much easier than going to a polling station or organising a postal vote, so we would be making it easier for some people to vote than others. That’s not democratic. I wouldn’t be surprised if people who were comfortable using the internet had overall different political views to the overall aggregation of the population, either (the response to the 42 days issue over the internet vs public opinion polls seems to suggest that).

Miller 2.0 · 25th June 2008 at 3:15 pm

“I can’t see the upsides of moving the day. How about you?”
It would be a lot easier for many who work, especially those on funny hours, to get to the polls, surely?

Shane McCracken · 25th June 2008 at 3:25 pm

Miller: I am serious. With polling stations opening at 7am and closing at 10pm I never found it a problem to vote on a Thursday either in the city or country. At weekends, however, I’m more likely to be away or committed to family activities. For others it’ll be different. They’ll be more likely to be absent during the week.

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