Inquiry city visit to ask about voter ‘turn-offs’

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A committee investigating why so few people vote is to visit Sheffield this week – and residents are invited to take part in two events.

Election turnout at general elections has fallen across the country since 1945, when it was at a high of 83 per cent.

In 2001 it hit a low of 59.4 per cent and in 2010 it was 65.1 per cent.

In Sheffield, voter turnout at the last local elections hit 35.82 per cent – an increase on 2012, but still low enough for political leaders to raise concerns about ‘voter apathy’.

In total 143,933 people marked their cross, compared to 130,246 in 2012.

Now the House of Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Committee is leading an inquiry into voter engagement in a bid to find out why fewer people are going to the ballot box, the impact it has, and how it can be improved.

The University of Sheffield’s Arts Tower will host a drop-in session from 12.15pm on Thursday.

A spokesman for the Houses of Parliament’s Information and Outreach Service said: “People can chat with members of the committee on why they think so many people don’t vote or even register to vote, as well as to what extent public perception and the media portrayal of MPs and the Government turn people off voting.

“They can also talk about what could be done to get people more engaged with voting and politics in general.”

A formal evidence session will also take place in the afternoon in the Arts Tower.

Last week council leader Julie Dore said it was good to see an increase in the numbers voting in the local election, and said EU polling the same day had had an impact. But she added: “I think a lot of people are still very apathetic about the political process.”