April 12, 2019 2.48 pm This story is over 55 months old

Local Democracy Weekly: Testing faith in democracy in the Brexit era

From this week’s Local Democracy newsletter

To hit the public with two elections at once and add a mix of councillors who will be returned to their posts regardless of the ballot box will test faith in British politics.

Elections are, naturally, a means of gauging how well parties are viewed by the public and, considering the current volatile political landscape, the next lot of votes will prove to be interesting.

By the end of the year, the electorate will have seen the sight of a polling booth six times in three years.

With the local elections and potential European elections set for next month, the public’s faith is set to be tested again.

See all the local election candidates across Greater Lincolnshire here.

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But, it comes at a time when the connection between politicians and the country is fragmented.

The referendum in 2016 saw the highest turnout for any national vote since 1992.

Voters again entered the polling booths for the General Election in 2017 with a turnout of 68%, an increase on the previous election.

However, the government’s handling of Brexit has fractured people’s belief in the system.

Photo: File/The Lincolnite

It does not bode well for the ballot box in a few weeks time.

Historically, local and European elections have suffered and turnout for the two has been consistently dismal.

The last local elections in 2018 saw a turnout of 35%, while the European elections in 2014 was 35.4%.

For some people, they will have a councillor elected without a single vote being cast.

In Lincolnshire, 19 councillors across the county will be returned to their seats because they will go unchallenged. 17 of those councillors are Conservative.

It doesn’t help efforts to increase turnout in council elections when some voters will be given no choice at all.

Councils are also preparing to hold European Parliament elections after an extension to Brexit day was secured by Prime Minister Theresa May.

The vote is a formality for member states, which the UK will remain until a deal is passed by the House of Commons.

How many voters turn out for the elections and the outcome is unpredictable.

But, it will offer an insight into how the electorate views the major parties’ handling of the Brexit vote, given that most expected to leave last March.

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