British voters could soon be allowed to cast their general election ballot online under plans being pushed by John Bercow, speaker of the House of Commons.
Revealing plans to update democracy in Britain to allow greater participation, Mr Bercow suggested the UK should follow the example set in Estonia, where a quarter of people voted online at the last election.
Mr Bercow said: “For representative democracy to thrive it has to evolve and there has to be a step-change improvement in its responsiveness to the electorate and the country at large.”
Politicians have been battling for years to find ways to stop the rapid decline in voter turnout at general elections. More than 80 per cent of people voted at the 1950 general election, but by 2010 that proportion was down to 65 per cent.
Online voting has previously been proposed as a way of making it easier for people to vote and so halt that decline, but officials have been concerned about the possibility of fraud. The surge in postal voting at the last election brought about a rise in the number of complaints about fraud, and electoral experts warn the problem could be worse if online voting was allowed.
Mr Bercow was presenting his vision for making parliament more accountable via electronic means, including through e-petitions, putting bills online and getting MPs to interact more through digital media.
The speaker has established a commission to look into his proposals, which is due to report in 2015.
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