Our gerontocracy

Frank Graves considers the ramifications of declining voter turnout.

Have we passed the brink from democracy to oligarchy? While on pattern with a disturbing downward trajectory in voter participation, this movement into the realm where the majority of citizens aren’t voting may be a wakeup call for those who think that elections shouldn’t be on track to a fringe activity. What may make matters worse is that this democratic decline is particularly pronounced in two sectors of our society — the young and the economically vulnerable. Although these groups have always had lower participation rates, their current anaemic levels of voting make it difficult to claim that governments legitimately speak for these large and growing portions of society.

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