From J. Gibbons, Ryde:

Rebecca Roncoroni asks, “Why don’t people exercise their voting rights?” and “Should it be made compulsory?” (CP, Weekender, 09-11-18) I would answer they do, and in effect, it is.

I have campaigned for many years for returning officers to include in the announced voting figures, the number voting against all those standing, i.e the number of could-be voters who have been clearly unconvinced by the standing candidates.

They have exercised their franchise (and made their opinions plain) by staying away from the voting booths as clearly as, or more so than, those who put their cross.

MPs hate the thought of these figures being publicised as they know they will be reminded forever that twice as many (or ten times as many) people voted against them as voted for them.

 As to why the people are so jaundiced against the candidates, I would suggest that voters are fed up to the back teeth with the political system (even those standing as independents in recent times have been seen to ally themselves with one or other of the party groups and vote accordingly.)

What we want is MPs and councillors who will use their own judgment on the issues and not just vote as someone else tells them to; such people are saying in effect “I will sell my vote against my own judgment on this matter if you will do the same on that other matter”.