Online voting could transform Britain's electorate
Fancy a snap election?
ONE-BY-ONE they approach the lectern, explaining why they will cast their votes. “Regardless of whether you do or don't, policies will be implemented,” says Princess, an activist, to loud cheers. As politicians from the main parties all make their speeches, the atmosphere in the lecture theatre at Queen Mary University, in east London, is electric. This is what Citizens UK, a network of university bodies, youth groups and religious gatherings, does so well: using existing civil-society organisations to spur young people into political action, and holding invigorating assemblies to meld them together.
It is also the exception. At the 2010 election, according to Ipsos MORI, 44% of Britons aged between 18 and 24 voted, compared with 76% of those aged 65 and over (national turnout was 65%). The gap is relatively new: it was half the size in 1970, and has grown significantly only over the past two decades. It is also starker than elsewhere. In the German election in 2013, for example, 64% of first-time voters cast their ballots, compared with 75% for over-70s. Britain's low youth turnout helps to explain why the outgoing, Conservative-led government has protected public spending on older voters (guaranteeing increases in the state pension, for example) while doing little to solve a housing shortage, which affects the young most acutely.
但这也是一个例外。根据莫里市场公司调查显示，在2010年的选举中 ，18岁至24岁的英国选民中有44%的人投出选票，而65岁及以上的选民投票率达到76%（全国投票率为65%）。这个差距一直在变化：1970年的差距仅为2010年的一半，而在过去的20年间迅速增长。英国的差距也比其他地区明显。在2013年的德国大选中，64%的第一次投票的选民（people aged between 17 and 21）进行了投票，70岁以上选民投票率为75%。英国低靡的年轻选民投票率在一定程度上解释了外向的保守党联合政府为何乐意为老年选民保证公共支出（比如保证养老金增长）而不太愿意去解决对年轻人影响更大的住房短缺问题。
There are several reasons for the low turnout. One is that more Britons are going to university and ever-more live in short-term, rented accommodation. Both trends make it harder for authorities to register them. Another is that Britain's first-past-the-post system holds down insurgent parties—like the Green Party—which are popular among young voters but stand no chance of winning more than a handful of seats. This makes voting seem less effective. Perhaps the most convincing explanation is that mainstream parties, with their soporific committee meetings, are ill-attuned to a generation more at home in dynamic organisations like Citizens UK and 38 Degrees, an online campaigning network which claims to have over ten times as many members as the Labour Party.
年轻人的低投票率有一些原因。第一，越来越多的英国人进入大学，相较于以前更多地住在短期租赁的住所。这两个趋势让当局很难为他们进行注册。第二，英国选举的简单多数制能够压制叛乱党派——比如绿党——该党在年轻人中更受欢迎，但是却没有机会赢得更多的席位。这让选举变得似乎不那么有效。最有说服力的理由或许是主流政党中那些催人欲睡的委员会把更愿意呆在家里的这个群体推向了动态的组织，比如Citizens UK 和38 Degrees 这个声称拥有比劳工党多10倍成员的在线竞选网络。
What to do? In the long term, political parties should become looser, more open and more welcoming. But one simple improvement would be online voting; a measure which John Bercow, the speaker of the House of Commons, has said he wants to see by 2020. That would both accommodate the footloose lives of young Britons, but also reflect how they like to do their politics: online and with reference to their social networks. Estonia introduced online voting in parliamentary elections in 2007. What is Britain waiting for?
我们该做什么？长远来看，政党应该变得更宽松、更开放、更受欢迎。但是在线投票或许是一个简单的改进：下议院院长John Bercow说他希望在2020年看到这一景象。这会更加适应年轻英国人自由自在的生活，也能够反映他们喜欢怎样参与政治：通过在线和社交网络。爱沙尼亚已经在2007年的议会选举中引进了在线投票。英国还在等什么呢？译者:胡雅琳 校对：吴倩
1.according to 根据，按照；据…所说
例句:Philip stayed at the hotel, according to Mr Hemming...
2.between and 在两者之间
例句:It may turn out, however, that some differences both between and within groups are quite marked.
3.hold down 固定；限制；镇压
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4.claim to 自称、承认
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