In the UK, the local elections will be held on Thursday 6 May and you have until this Monday (19 April) to register to vote. So if you haven’t already, now is the time. But why does voting matter? Here, I explain:
1) Your voice should be heard
If you’re over the age of 18 and you live in the UK, then the people that make the decisions in this country should hear your views. You have a voice and it should be heard. Election day is your chance to make sure that those at the top table know how you feel.
2) They serve you
Politicians are paid to represent you. They are voted in by the people and they act as your voice. Election day is your chance to say if you think they’re worthy of the job or not.
3) Do you want change to happen?
By turning up and voting you’re doing your bit to push for change. Or, you’re doing your bit to ensure that things continue as they’ve been. Either way, you are having your say and expressing how you’d like things to go.
4) It’s a privilege that hasn’t always been there
The right to vote isn’t something that people have always automatically had. People have fought for the right to vote. The Suffragettes in particular, did their bit to push for women in the UK to have the vote. I think that fact that people lost their lives over this is one of many reasons why you should turn up.
5) It’s easy to do
Voting is easy. You can either turn up at your local polling station and put a cross in a box. You don’t need to take your address card with you to vote, you don’t need any ID, you just need to give your name and address. The process is very simple and shouldn’t take any more than a few minutes.
6) You can vote by post or proxy
If you feel that it would be difficult to get to a polling station on the day, then you could apply to your council for a postal, or a proxy vote. The postal vote allows you to do just that. You fill it in at home and send it back via the post.
A proxy vote allows you to nominate somebody to go to the polling station and vote on your behalf. Contact your local council if you’re interested in doing this.
7) They’re not all the same
You might thing that politicians are ‘all the same’, but that’s just not the case. Every candidate has its own set of pledges and promises. So read the manifestos, have a look over their election leaflets and decide which candidate or party that’s the most aligned to you. You might not agree with everything a candidate says, but you’ll probably find that you favour one over the others.
8) Every vote is seen
You might thing that it doesn’t matter if you vote or not. But every vote is seen and the numbers are released after the count.
Furthermore, the candidates have to look at all the spoilt ballot papers to agree that they are, in fact, spoilt. So if you really do feel that you can’t vote for anybody, then turn up and scribble ‘politically homeless’ on your ballot paper. The candidates will see it. And imagine the impact if every disillusioned voter did that!
9) The result will impact your future
In elections we vote in our decision makers. These people will decide our futures. They will make law and develop policy impacting our health system, our education system, our economy, the law. Do you really not want to have your say on something which carries such importance?
If you haven’t registered to vote already, do so today.