I will keep this short as I understand there are other, more pressing issues in the world and I might just run out of things to say (don’t judge me).
Let me begin by enticing you with a rather revealing figure which has recently come to light thanks to the United Nations. Out of the world’s 7 billion people, 6 billion have mobile phones compared to only 4.5 billion who can boast having access to a working toilet. Nothing more even needs to be said on that, it is a startling fact.
While sobering, there is one great advantage to this. Now, if we look in the UK in particular, we know the younger generation are most likely to hold the highest number of mobile phone users. So, how do I relate this to politics, you ask? Well, Glasgow University have invented a new computer system which allows people to vote in elections via text message and believe it will lead to a higher voter turnout amongst young people.
It is hard to dispute their idea. Young people (not all, I won’t tarnish you all with same brush) use their phones to vote for contestants on reality shows like ‘I’m A Celebrity’… and other pointless TV shows, of which I have never got myself involved in… So why not use them for something that will allow you to express your democratic right, for FREE?
They call this invention, “Handivote”. In order to take part, households would receive hand-delivered four-digit identification codes and PIN numbers in sealed envelopes. Each recipitent has their own unique voting card number, and they send the code in the SMS to prove they are the recipient of the card – quite straightforward really.
I hear you scream, “but what about the technical issues?!” I must admit this invention is still in its youth and is obviously going to be tried and tested before any change to the electoral system is made. Dr Paul Cockshott, is one of the academics behind the system, and has tried the system in Glasgow. The first public use of the scheme was tested in a vote asking whether houses should be built in North Kelvin Meadow, in Glasgow. The system worked well, albeit it being on a relatively small scale. But, it is certainly a method that the government should consider in the near future on a greater level.
After all, the government could do with a boost of voters, since the last election showed abysmal results and a coalition government. Without sounding prejudiced, even the opposition could pick up a few handy votes from the young in future elections. But I digress, the point is that this could revolutionise voting and could be useful in the proposed Scottish referendum or local elections.
I round this off by stressing that although this system may sound shady to some, I believe it could be the next step towards attracting a wider selection of the electorate- the younger generation. Also, because of the evermore busy lives we lead, does it not sound appealing to be able to vote without having to go to polling stations or posting them out?
Asiya Amjad, A2 Politics Student