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June 2011

In: Social Issues

Submitted By veritymck
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Pages 7
June 2011

Explain the term turnout used in the extract. Turnout represents the number of registered voters who cast a ballot at a given election usually expressed as a percentage. In this extract turnout refers to non-electoral political participation. Traditionally, the political participation of the UK’s citizens is measured by turnout to general elections. For example, in 2005 turnout to the general election was just 60%. This was seen to be a participation crisis by some. This extract would argue that casting a ballot is only part of a person’s political participation. It shows that 62% of people had given money to an organization in the previous 12 months. Also, 50% of people had signed a petition. This suggests individuals choose their involvement in politics in their own way and generalizing that if general election turnout is low, political participation is low is incorrect. This is supported by the POWER report in 2006 that suggested there is not a political participation crisis as there is still involvement on a local level. This suggests that political participation should not just be judged on turnout for general elections but also other acts of political participation.

Using your own knowledge as well as the extract, consider why some commentators have spoken of a ‘participation crisis’ in recent years. In recent general elections, declining levels of turnout have led some to believe Britain is having a participation crisis. Meaning, political participation is so low it threatens to undermine Britain’s democracy. In the 2005 general election just 60% of registered voters cast a ballot and this increased slightly in 2010 to 65%. Low levels of turnout cause numerous problems. If not enough of those able to vote do, it calls into question the legitimacy of the result and any decisions made by the winning party. For example, the Conservative party...

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