General election turnout

The lowest turnout in a general election was recorded in 1918 at 57.2 %, due to the end of the First World War. Between 1922 and 1997 turnout remained above 71 %. At the  2001 general election the turnout was 59.4 %;  in 2005 it was 61.4 %  and in 2010 it was 65.1% .


Electoral Commission reports

The Electoral Commission has published reports examining whether changing the current arrangements for voting will encourage more people to vote and there have been a number of pilots at local elections in recent years to try out some of the alternative measures suggested. These included:

  • allowing weekend voting

  • changing polling hours

  • opening polling stations in different locations

  • encouraging postal voting and early voting

The Hansard Society publishes an annual Audit of political engagement which can be found on its website; the latest report explores the decline in people’s propensity to vote.


Page last updated September 2013

External link

Parliament's Education Service supports young people's understanding of Parliament and democracy. Learn more about elections, referendums and voting systems.