With so many politicians tweeting and posting videos on YouTube to gain votes, it seems ironic that the more-media savvy general public still have to use an archaic voting system.
Yesterday’s general election made this all too clear. Hailed as the UK’s first ‘digital election’, the evening ended in chaos as hundreds of voters were locked out of polling stations when the ballot boxes closed.
Some areas ran out of ballot papers while others had to call police to turn crowds away. All three main parties condemned the situation which was described by the chair of the Electoral Commission, Jenny Watson, as ‘Victorian’.
‘It is a cause for serious concern that many people who wanted to vote were unable to do so by 10pm when polls closed,’ the Electoral Commision said in a statement. ‘There should have been sufficient resources allocated to ensure that everyone who wished to vote was able to do so.’
Many of the people waiting outside the polling stations used their phones to update social media sites on what was happening. Undoubtedly, a large number were also part of the new generation of first-time voters, enthused by television leader’s debates and feeling far more engaged with the electoral process than ever before.
But in an age of social-media, could an electronic voting process have prevented the last-minute chaos? According to a recent survey more than three quarters of the general public would vote on the internet if they could, up more than 10 per cent on last night’s estimated 65 per cent turn out.
Arguably walking to a polling station every five years or so isn’t a huge price to pay for democracy. However, the dispararity between doing this and the high-tech methods used on the campaign trail, have raised some questions that need to be addressed by the future government.