The last December election took place almost a century ago, in 1923. Why are winter elections so rare, what difference does it make to voters, turnout, and campaigners, and how has it affected the overall outcome in the past?

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    This is a difficult question to answer, largely for the reason you state (the last one was nearly a century ago). Even once this election is over, I'm unconvinced that we'll be able to answer it, as there are other unique issues and circumstances at play in this election, which are more likely to have a greater impact than the time of year of the election.
    – Joe C
    Nov 17, 2019 at 8:43
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    Usually in bad weather abstention is on the rise, and abstention may affect in a different way to the several candidacies.
    – SJuan76
    Nov 17, 2019 at 9:56
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    Politicians are the people who call the election. They are also the people who go around knocking on doors canvassing. That is, they're outside. If you had a choice would you canvass in Summer or Winter? Nov 17, 2019 at 10:29
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    Canvassing is best done in the daylight. Party activists prefer summer elections.
    – mikado
    Nov 17, 2019 at 10:30
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    By the time most people finish work it will be dark. I suspect the numbers who go out to vote after work will drop dramatically...I've no proof of this because, as you point out, it was nearly a century ago last time it happened. Nov 17, 2019 at 11:13

1 Answer 1


I can attempt to answer this question by reasoning why it is thought not to be the best idea to hold an election in the winter.

Firstly, it's winter. People natuarlly dont spend as much time outside in the winter due to the cold weather, potential for icy conditions and the duration of daylight being shorter. Express Article 2016

If people are less likely to go out in general then it follows that they are less likely to go out to the polling stations which could lead to a lower turnout. Furthermore people may be less likely to answer thier doors in the dark evenings therefor canvassers may have a harder time attracting support for candidates.

Come polling day, a bad frost may prevent the less able to go to vote, or severe snow may make accessing polling stations impossible, especailly in the more remote areas of the United Kingdom.

Secondly, it is very close to christmas. People are already stressed with buying presents, visiting family and other festive activities such as school plays, pantomimes and work christmas parties. Again, busy personal lives leaves less time for canvasing and voting.

Bringing these two aspects together could lead to the potential for a low turnout, and a lower turnout could have an effect on the result.

If we assume that older voters are more likely to vote Conservative, then a low turnout of older voters could harm their results.


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