A Right to Vote? A Duty
A huge number of people are expected to return their postal votes this weekend – but will you be returning yours? Do you even have one? The Electoral Commission estimates that ‘millions’ of people do not appear on the electoral roll and will be unable to cast their vote this time around. In a recent survey 23% of people polled said they assumed that if you paid council tax you would be automatically registered to vote, whilst 20% of people thought you could register to vote up until the day before the election. They may be disappointed: registration ended on 20th April 2010.
In addition to these many votes that may be lost, intentionally or otherwise, there will be a number of people who choose not to vote this time. They may return a spoiled ballot paper (one comment I read cited that as the only ‘sensible option’), they may just simply not return anything. There are a range of reasons being given. Many claim their grasp of politics is not clear enough for them to be confident when voting, many simply remain too undecided. Perhaps the most depressing of reasons: “it won’t make any difference”.
So, here’s my impassioned plea to you this morning if you have a ballot paper and you’re thinking about spoiling it or not returning it: please use it. We do not live in a country where change is impossible. There are millions of people in the world who would love to live in a democracy like ours. The system may not be perfect, the politicians may not always live up to your expectations and it could always be better. It could, however, always be a lot lot worse.
The election is not a ‘done deal’ and anything could happen with days left to go before the final votes are cast. But whether you support one of the main three parties or another smaller one, this is your chance to be part of something amazing. All you have to do is tick a box – I don’t even care which box – but please tick a box.