There seems to be general agreement that we can expect a pretty low turnout for Thursday’s referendum; and there’s no surprise at all that the expected losers are already positioning themselves to challenge the legitimacy of the result on that basis. But does it really matter how many turn out and vote?
I’m not a supporter of compulsory voting, and without compulsory voting, the decisions will always be made by those who participate. Whilst it might be fair to conclude that those who decide not to vote at all probably don’t feel particularly strongly either way, there is really no merit in the argument that their failure to vote for any given proposition means that they should be counted as being against it, which is what calls for a threshold amount to.
And outside the small circle of pundits and professionals, who really cares how many have voted? It's mostly the politicians who seem worried about it, but the problem of low turnout is one which the politicians themselves need to solve, by given people a good enough reason to go out and vote. The most important element of that is convincing people that voting will make a difference.
The problem with this referendum is that it’s being held for the wrong reason on the wrong issue. If the turnout is as low as predicted, it’s not the voters who should take the blame, but the politicians who insisted on holding a referendum on the wrong issue.