For UK readers, today is polling day in the 2017 General Election. It’s time to get out and vote!
Hopefully you saw my previous post, or other information around the internet, and made sure that you got yourself registered to vote.
So today, there are two things that you need to do:
One – Go and Vote
Unless you registered for a proxy vote or postal vote, today is the day to head down to your local polling station. Details of where to cast your vote will be on your polling card. But if you can’t find your card, or left it at home, you can find out where to go by visiting this website.
Polling stations are open from 7am until 10pm. And as long as you’re in the queue to vote at 10pm, you should still be allowed to cast your vote. You don’t need to take your card with you, and you don’t need to take any form of ID with you.
Just turn up and vote!
If you have children under 18, you should be fine to take them into the polling station with you. They can’t actually mark the polling slip for you, but they can go with you. And if you have a dog with you, you might have to leave them outside or with the polling station staff.
But the important thing is to go and vote! Because your vote really does count, and this is your chance to have a say in how the country is run.
Yes, you might end up with the same MP – but they do pay attention to the number of votes cast for the other parties. They do notice if there’s a big swing against them. Or you might find that the candidate you vote for gets in, but by a very small margin. Imagine if you’d stayed at home instead of voting. If enough people do that, it does make a difference.
13 seats at the last General Election had a winning margin of less than 500 votes. Just 27 votes separated the top two candidates in one seat. And in the recent Local Elections, there was a tie between the top two candidates in South Blyth. When that happens, they decide who wins the seat by drawing straws – your vote could make such a difference!
In the constituency where I live, the margin between the candidates in first and second place at the last Election was 10,743. But 20509 people didn’t vote – what a wasted opportunity!
Please, go out tomorrow and cast your vote in the General Election. It does matter, your vote does count!
And the second thing? Encourage others to vote!
Your friends, colleagues or relatives may be talking about not voting. If so, give them the encouragement to go and cast their vote. This is especially important if they are young people.
The 18-24 age group has been seriously under-represented in recent elections. That might not sound like an important matter, but it does impact on government policy. Politicians don’t like to campaign on policies that they think will lose votes. That’s why you’ve seen u-turns on manifesto promises in recent weeks.
Because young people aren’t as likely to vote, spending cuts often tend to fall on them.
I know which way I want the election result to go. And if you follow me on social media you probably can guess that as well. But most importantly I want it to be a truly democratic result, as far as our current system allows.