I never understand why people say they won’t vote. It’s not something I have ever really thought of as a choice. It is something you have to do. It’s your responsibility to the country you live in – your responsibility to ensure that the right people are running the country. Or at least to try to ensure it.
There are a number of reasons why I will always vote even though, as a political decision, it gets harder and harder. One of the most important ones is the fact that the vote for women was particularly hard-won and to not use it seems particularly disrespectful to all those women who were treated so badly by the Government at the time. It isn’t even one hundred years since women over thirty got the vote. Those women were willing to die in order to gain the vote and people now squander it. There are still plenty of countries around the world where democracy does not exist. We are lucky to have a system which allows us to choose. We should celebrate that, not sit on our laurels complaining.
Of course, I know the system is not perfect and the choice now sometimes feels like no choice at all – which of these rich white men will i choose – but the only way to change that is to use the one form of power that you have – that is to vote. In real life, I wouldn’t let anyone else speak for me and I won’t do that on polling day either. It is not empowering to not vote or to spoil the paper because the decision about who is going to run the country is going to be made regardless of that sort of toothless protest. In fact, we wouldn’t have been stuck with the coalition for these last years if more people had actually voted last time. After all, in general it is not the Tory voters who are disaffected. They will still vote. So everyone else needs to make sure they stop them from getting in again.
Finally, when we wake up on 8th May and we still have the Tories and some equally hellish version of a coalition, if you have not given your vote, then you cannot complain. In fact, you will only have yourself to blame. Don’t squander what is one of the most important rights that you have, get out there and vote on May 7th.
One thought on “Why you need to vote”
Not voting is a problem but it’s also a way of showing the parties that none of them appeals to them… perhaps because they are too similar. It is, however, a risky approach and only works if the voter really does not care how the seats are distributed. Otherwise, the most sensible thing to do is go for the lesser evil as it will reduce the power and influence of the other parties. Also for the mere sake of hindering the formation of a coalition government, it would be wise to vote.
Sometimes not voting can be used strategically in referendums, especially if there is a minimum turnout or other requirements for the motion to pass. This happened in the Scottish devolution referendum in ’79, where the requirement was that 40% of the total electorate would have to vote yes. Not voting was therefore the same as voting no.