Young people should be forced to vote as soon as they turn 18, as it could "kick start the habit of a lifetime", a think tank has urged.
The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) wants young voters to be made to vote in the first election they are able to, in the hope it will boost election turnouts.
Just over two in five (44%) 18 to 24 year olds voted in the latest general election in 2010, with the gap between the proportion of young people voting compared to over 65s standing at 44%.
"What is clear is that differences in participation and influence by class and age are evident in almost all aspects of the political process. Political inequality appears ingrained, to the detriment of British democracy," the IPPR report read.
The IPPR recommended reform to focus explicitly on how to boost the influence and voices of underrepresented groups in society.
"If necessary then, radical institutional intervention will be required to reverse ingrained inequality and substantively boost the influence of the presently politically excluded."
The report highlights the importance of recognising and understanding the relationship between political inequality and economic outcomes, adding representative democracy needed a "reboot".
"Disaffection is not a passing phenomenon; it is deep-seated and, if anything, the forthcoming election might entrench it."
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