Not sure why you should vote in General Elections? In a country of millions it can be hard to see how your voice has an impact, but there are a number of reasons why your vote counts.
1. It gives you the power to create change.
Voting gives you the power to decide how the UK is run. If you have a complaint about the way the country is being run, voting is a way simple you can make a change. You can choose a candidate to suit to your views and they can represent your views at a national and local level. It’s not the only way to participate but it’s the quickest and easiest way!
2. Get politicians working for young adults.
It is an unfortunate truth that politicians will sometimes look at 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 financial implications. Firstly, Political Parties are 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. So by voting for a candidate you’re also helping them to keep fighting elections in future.
Furthermore, 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.
4. Many movements have campaigned to give you the right to vote.
Many campaigners within movements, such as the women’s suffrage movement, 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, it’s 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 and help them keep their job, or by voting for other candidates you can help remove a sitting MP who you think isn’t doing a good job.
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. If you would like to see this change it is important to prove that smaller parties have the support, this will give them mandate to call for reform.
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.