First things first, as of 11:00am today I will have officially finished my second year at university! Crazy! I have a 9am exam so wish me luck!
For my British readers, this is for you. Tomorrow is probably one of the most important days of the year because it is a general election. And for me, it is the first time I am legally old enough to vote in a general election as last time I missed out by a month! I should outline first, this post will have no political position, as in my opinion, that’s up to you to determine, not for me to tell you. So I shall be writing this from as neutral a perspective as possible, keeping my own political views to myself. I’m sure some people reading this should think that I should perhaps speak out about my views, but in my opinion politics is personal to people. You don’t have the right to try and change mine, so I don’t see what right I have to try and change yours.
The reason I’m writing this is to encourage people to VOTE. Particularly in my generation, a lack of voting seems to be a recurrent problem. In the 2015 General Election just 43% of 18-25 year olds voted, compared with 78% of 65+ year olds. This statistic honestly baffles me. The younger generation are most likely to feel the effects of the decisions made in the next parliament, so make sure you use your voice! I know that the deadline for registering to vote as gone, but I remember last year so many people on polling day for the EU Referendum still didn’t realise they had to have registered to vote!
We are in a democracy, which is sacred in itself. Regardless of where you sit on the political spectrum, I’m sure you can appreciate the fortune of being in a country where politics are decided democratically rather than through an authoritarian regime. So, as we have a democracy, take part in it. Democracy comes from the latin demos which means people, so people need to get involved (i.e. you!)
As a politics student, you would correctly assume that I have a passion for politics (somewhat obvious you would hope) and so that may mean I have a slightly heightened interest in the upcoming election. I’ve been studying all about governments, voting behaviours and British Politics in general so I can say first hand that your vote does matter. For those of you that maybe ‘can’t be bothered to vote’ or see your vote as ‘not making a difference’ let me break this down for you…
When looking at the above statistic, 56% of 18-25 year olds did not vote. More people in this age group didn’t vote, than those that actually did. Those 56% could of had a variety of reasons not to vote, let me lay down some examples and some solutions:
“I don’t know who to vote for”
Ah, the problem for so many (of all ages I should say). This is one that is actually a lot easier to solve than you may initially think. If you’ve voted in the past maybe go from there, or if you don’t want to vote for this party or have never voted before there are a few things you can do:
- The internet is FILLED with online quizzes (examples are ISideWith and Who Should You Vote For to name two) that can help you. You simply answer the questions and at the end they give you a percentage similarity with each party. From this you can either pick the party you want to vote for, or, select your top parties and do some further research
- All of the political parties have manifestos. Give them a read. If there are points you agree with, or don’t these can help you determine a party for you
- I’ve found that the debates and Question Time’s have been most helpful in getting to know party leaders a bit better. Use these to help determine a party for you. They are currently available on BBC IPlayer, here’s a link to Question Time Leaders Special
“My constituency is a strong Party X seat but I want to vote Party Y, what’s the point?”
There is every point! Because what if other people also want to vote for Party Y but think the same as you! This could change your constituency seat outcome. It doesn’t matter where you are in the country, you vote still makes an impact. Second place parties can also use this position in future to locate target seats, so even if your chosen party doesn’t get in at this election, there is the possibility it can next time!
Also, at the end of the day, your vote is your vote and no one can take that away from you so use it.
“I don’t have time to go to a polling station”/”I don’t know where my polling station is”
Your polling station is written on your polling card, or if you can’t access that Where Do I Vote can help you. Simply input your postcode and your polling station details will appear. Polling stations are also open from 7am until 10pm, so that is 15 hours for you to find time to vote.
I hope that you’ve kind of got the point by now, but in case you haven’t MAKE SURE YOU VOTE!
The 18-34 year olds have the power to really impact this election. Historically, this is the age group that has turned out the vote the least. So, why not try and improve the stats a bit, turnout, cast your vote.
I mean honestly, it’s really not giving us Millennials much of a good name here…