Why don’t we vote in EU Elections?

Broadly turnout is declining in all elections in the Western world. Some countries are impacted more severely by the trend (the US and Britain) and some elections prompt more interest than others (a UK General Election v a UK local council election) but the simple fact is we don’t vote as often as we used to (political scientists point to the 1950s as the golden age of mass political participation).

European Union elections historically have received relatively low turnouts in the United Kingdom. Some commentators have suggested this is because the EU is a remote institution that we don’t know or care about and can’t see how it impacts on us.

However, this article suggests (to coin a phrase usually associated with the Confederate south in the US Civil War) that EU elections may be dying from democracy and that it is the very fair and democratic nature of the party list electoral system that is actually putting people off.


This is a really good example for questions asking you to evaluate electoral systems but also questions on declining turnout and participation.


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