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A significant overhaul of electoral legislation to give voters a second vote, open polling stations at weekends and make it compulsory to participate is being proposed by the government to increase turnout and improve the legitimacy of the Commons.
Ministers will begin a consultation effort on the plan after local elections in May, and hope the measures will increase the authority of MPs and reduce voter disengagement. In the 2005 general election, only 61% of those eligible participated. Under the alternative voting system, ballot papers would allow for a second preference vote which would be redistributed from the lowest-scoring candidate's share until one candidate has more than 50% of the vote.