The past couple of years has changed the scene of politics. 2016 bought the Brexit referendum, the election of Donald Trump as President of the USA and the resignation of former Prime Minister David Cameron following the referendum result, leading to Theresa May as the new PM. A general election has been called which, while spontaneous, gives the general population a chance to change the course of politics, or continue with a Conservative government. This election is all the more significant, considering the changes of the past few years. So why vote?
- IT GIVES YOU A STAKE IN THE GOVERNMENT’S PLATFORM: Young people, for example are significantly underrepresented as many choose not to vote or engage with political issues that will directly affect us as we grow older. By voting in mass numbers, you can become a cohesive group that parties are forced to be responsive towards and include in their manifestos. Many people complain of feeling disengaged with politics and see no point in voting yet so few are willing to re-engage and challenge the status quo. Politicians are there to serve the people, and be held to account – one vote contributes to that. A higher turnout gives the government a larger mandate to govern which is true democracy.
- VOTING MUSTN’T BE TAKEN FOR GRANTED: In liberal democracies, it’s all too easy to be used to having the privilege of voting once you turn 18 and so . But you have to remember that marginalised and minority groups across the world have fought for this right, from the Suffragettes to the Civil Rights Movement, and so to vote is to carry their legacy forward of universal suffrage. In many countries in the world, including acclaimed democracies, the rigging and corruption of elections is not uncommon. Registering to vote and casting your ballot is so simple and easy yet so many don’t.
- YOU CAN VOTE IN DIFFERENT WAYS: A common reason people give for not voting is because they either don’t know who to vote for, they feel too disillusioned from the party’s manifestos or see the voting system as simply wasting their vote. You don’t have to cast a firm ballot – you can protest vote by simply handing in a spoilt ballot. That way, you haven’t voted for any of the candidate but will be counted in the statistics of spoilt ballots, rather than be counted in the percentage of those who simply didn’t vote. This can send a clear message of discontent to political parties on issues such as electoral reform. You can even vote tactically by forming part of a voting bloc to vote out your least favoured party/candidate by voting for the most popular opposition. You can also vote by post if you cannot make it to your polling station.
Be sure to register by the 22nd May here: htww.gov.uk/register-to-votetps://w, and use your political power.