How Bristol bucks the trend with more people turning out to vote in general elections

-Credit: (Image: James Beck/BristolLive)
-Credit: (Image: James Beck/BristolLive)


Bristol tends to buck the national trend in general elections with more people turning out to vote than average. Some parts of the city see turnout well above the UK average.

“Turnout” means the proportion of citizens who vote in elections, and can be seen as a measure of how healthy a democracy is. Some other countries in the West have higher turnout than the UK, but this can be due to compulsory voting rules or using proportional representation.

Across the UK, turnout in the last general election in 2019 was 67.3 per cent. The south west saw the highest turnout by region at 72 per cent, and parts of Bristol were even higher than this. The regions with the lowest turnout were Northern Ireland at 61.8 per cent and the North East at 64.2 per cent.

Read more: What to do if you can’t get to a polling station on general election day

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At the last general election, Labour MP Kerry McCarthy kept her seat in Bristol East, where the turnout was 70.8 per cent. Labour’s Darren Jones kept his seat in Bristol North West, where the turnout was 73.5 per cent.

Labour MP Karin Smyth kept her seat in Bristol South, where the turnout was 65.9 per cent. Labour’s Thangam Debbonaire kept her seat in Bristol West, where the turnout was 76.5 per cent.

Elsewhere in the country, the constituency with the highest turnout was East Dunbartonshire in Scotland, with a turnout of 80.3 per cent. The constituency with the smallest turnout was Kingston Upon Hull East in Yorkshire, with a turnout of 49.3 per cent.

There is also a staggering difference in turnout between younger and older voters. According to the pollsters IPSOS Mori, only 47 per cent of people aged 18 to 24 voted in the last general election, compared to 74 per cent of people aged over 65.

In the 2017 general election, turnout in Bristol East was 70 per cent, in Bristol North West it was 72 per cent, in Bristol South 66 per cent, and in Bristol West 77 per cent. Across the UK, turnout was 69 per cent.