Improving online voting information could increase participation by young people, a study shows.
Researchers also said old-fashioned ways of releasing election results and publicising polling dates meant information was bypassing young people who were more used to using the web and mobile phones.
The findings, published today by the Democratic Audit unit of the London School of Economics, claimed public authorities were failing to publicise the dates of upcoming elections more than four weeks in advance.
It also said results were published in inaccessible formats – some local authorities still publish ward election results by scanning handwritten results forms.
The report, Engaging young voters with enhanced election information, calculated that in the five-year electoral cycle from 2009-2013, taxpayers spent around £764m administering elections and referendums.
Richard Berry, democratic audit researcher and report co-author, said: “Only 44% of young people educated to GCSE level or below vote in elections, compared with 91% of older people with a degree. In the past five years UK taxpayers spent over £750m on elections – this investment would go much further if we directed some of it toward comprehensive election information, which voters can access whenever and however they choose to.”