Voter turnout increased at the 2017 general election – but not by that much. If you take the number of votes cast at the election as a proportion of the eligible voting population, then the turnout was 73 per cent. So, it rose by a mere percentage point (from 72% in 2014, which was up from just under 70% in 2011).
But what about amongst different age groups? And, in particular, did it increase amongst young voters?
Below is a chart showing the increases for the different voter age bands.
The first couple of bars shows that the 18-24-year-old age group went from 48% turnout in 2014 to 50% turnout in 2017. This was a 2-percentage point increase. For the 25-29-year-old range, there was a 3-percentage point increase, from 51% to 54%. And in the next band, 30-34-year-olds, the increase was 5 percentage points – from 59% to nearly 64%. The other age bands didn’t change much.
These figures differ from those released by the Electoral Commission, because these figures take into account the fact that not everyone enrols. So, the proportion of turnout used above is in regard to all those that are eligible to enrol (what is called the estimated Voting Age Population). In contrast, the Electoral Commission only measures voter turnout in terms of those who actually enrol to vote. This inflates the turnout figures. And unfortunately, their figures, therefore, don’t take into account all the people that choose not to enrol – which is an important part of understanding levels of non-voting.
Therefore, the Electoral Commission figures for youth voting suggest that there was a much bigger increase in youth voting. So, to be clear, two things happened in terms of youth voter turnout in 2017: 1) There was a decline in the proportion of young people who enrolled to vote, but 2) Of those that enrolled, there was a 6.5 percentage point increase in voting.
Overall, then, it meant that youth voter turnout went from just 48% to just 50%.