Why Should I Vote in the General Election?
Not sure why you should vote in the General Election? Here are seven reasons why your vote is so important.
1. Decide who makes the decisions on the issues you care about.
Voting gives you the power to decide how the UK is run. The MPs you help to elect will be making decisions on issues that you care about, including NHS, Housing, Education and the Environment.
By voting in the election you can support a candidate who will represent your views in parliament, and can influence the policy issues you care about. An election is also your chance to speak out if you have a complaint about the way the country is being run. Remember, voting is not the only way to participate but it’s the quickest and easiest way!
If you don’t vote, you’ll have had no say over who will be making decisions on the issues important to you.
2. Get politicians working for young adults.
Politicians may sometimes consider voter turnout before making key policy decisions. If a certain demographic‘s turnout is high then politicians may be more likely to make policy that benefits that demographic in order to please them and subsequently win their votes or retain their support.
According to IPSOS Mori more than 71% of over 65s voted in 2017, compared to only 54% of 18-24 year olds (source).
3. Voting is important even if you don’t think your candidate will win.
Living in a safe seat constituency doesn’t mean your vote won’t make a difference. The constituency of Kensington overturned a majority of 7,000 in just two years. If everyone just ‘gives up’ change will never happen.
Supporting a candidate who might not necessarily win has a number of other implications. Firstly, you will show the winning candidate what issues they should be focusing on if they want to win your vote next time around. For example, if Candidate A gets a large number of votes because of her stance on the Environment, then the winning Candidate B might try to do more on this issue in order to convince you to vote for them next time.
Political Parties are also awarded ‘Short Money‘ (funding) depending on the number of overall votes they receive, more votes equals more funding for the party to keep fighting elections with. Candidates are also required to get a certain number of votes in their constituency to keep their deposit (the money they put down to appear on the ballot paper) if a party loses a lot of deposits it can have a big impact on their funding. Funding is important for parties as without it they can find it difficult to support candidates standing in elections.
4. Many movements have campaigned to give you the right to vote.
Many campaigners within movements, such as the women’s suffrage movement or those who took part in Peterloo, even gave their lives to win the right to vote. Some say it is disrespectful to them to waste your vote.
The UK has seen a number of campaigns to spread voting rights over its history, including groups campaigning for the right to vote for women and working class men. (Read More)
5. MPs represent your local area in parliament and solve issues for local people.
Voting enables you to help decide who represents your local area in parliament. MPs aren’t just responsible for national policy. It’s also their job to raise local issues and support you as much as they can. You can go to them and ask for advice on certain issues or ask them to promote an issue in parliament.
MPs are able to help with a range of topics ranging from immigration status and support for local infrastructure, to complaints about utility companies. Sometimes their help can really change people’s lives for the better.
By voting you can select the person you want to represent you. You might be helping to keep a helpful MP their job, or by voting for other candidates you can help remove a sitting MP who you think isn’t doing their best for your community.
6. Voting is a way to show support for Electoral Reform.
The Electoral System we have will never change if you don’t speak out. There has been many calls to change the First Past the Post electoral system to a more proportional one. The electoral system will never change to benefit third parties if only voters for the main parties turn out to vote, if you want to see a change then you must show that there is demand for other parties to be represented.
7. You can leave your ballot blank, or spoil it, if you do not agree with any of the political parties.
Of course, if you don’t feel aligned to any of the political parties then you can spoil your ballot.
Staying at home just makes you another statistic, it is presumed you are just uninterested. By actively going to the polling station and not selecting any candidate before submitting to the ballot box, you become a voice for the disengaged.
Blank Votes and Spoiled Ballots are read out at the count, along with the results and are also included in subsequent reports. Your apathy towards the political parties will be heard not just forgotten.
If suddenly there are huge numbers of blank/spoiled ballots at election time, the major political parties will start to think more about what they need to do to reconnect with these voters.