Democracies should not tolerate non-voters.
Spoil your vote, if you wish – but show up. As they do in Australia, anyone who fails to vote should be fined – ideally at source, in PAYE or benefits.
Nor should democracies tolerate incomplete voting registers.
In Britain, Brexit continues to underwhelm.
As you’d expect. It never had enough support.
Here are the Brexit voting maths:
VOTED LEAVE: 17 million (c. 26%)
VOTED REMAIN: 16 million (c. 25%)
SAT ON SOFA SCRATCHING ARSE: 13 million (c. 20%)
NOT EVEN ON VOTING REGISTER: 18 million (c. 28%)
That is, nearly 75% of the UK did not vote for Brexit.
Ideally, you’d never have a referendum – on any subject. They are a crude import from an entirely different system (a plebiscite democracy) and have no place in a representative democracy. And as Margaret Thatcher (quoting Clement Attlee) noted: “Perhaps the late Lord Attlee was right,” she observed, “when he said that the referendum was a device of dictators and demagogues.”
Even in mere private companies, no major decision would be pushed though with c. ¼ of the shareholders or directors.
In corporate terms, the Brexit result was electorally inquorate.
Typically, for major corporate decisions, a genuine 50+% is required even for routine decisions, and 75%+ by shareholder value is required to sanction a major decision.
Referendums are a bad idea to begin with, but if one is stuck with them, they should at least require a 75% majority of all adults.
Anything less is a recipe for societal fracture.