We live in a democracy (supposedly), and one of our democratic rights is the ability to vote for the people that will represent us in Parliament and in Government.
However, it concerns me that whenever important elections roll around, the voter turnouts are very low.
Voter apathy is what keeps the establishment and the status quo maintained.
Our parliamentary electoral system is the ‘first-past-the-post’ system. Whichever party gains the most seats in parliament, gets to form a government. Each constituency returns an MP who will take that seat in the House Of Commons.
I can understand why people don’t bother to vote, and quote reasons such as “there’s no point, my vote won’t matter”.
The thing is that constituencies across the UK can vary so much when it comes to population/electorate size. So that’s why we have a system where a party such as the SNP can gather a total of 1,454,436 votes, and get 56 seats in the Commons, while UKIP gets 3,881,099 votes, and the Greens get 1,157,613 votes, while both parties get one seat each. (source: UK Election Results 2015)
Anyway, thats by the by. The important statistics relate to those who DIDN’T vote.
Lets take for example, the results in my local constituency, Birmingham Yardley.
From the figures on the Electoral Commission website, the total electorate was 72,146, while the total number of valid votes cast was 41,151.
That means there were 30,995 people who did not vote (or spoiled their vote).
Just imagine for a second, if all the people who chose not to vote, did so because they wanted to vote Green, but didn’t because “they won’t win here”. Or even if just half of them didn’t vote UKIP, for the same reasons. It would have been a completely different outcome.
Any vote, is better than no vote, or a spoiled ballot paper.
So please, make sure you exercise your democratic right on June 8th and vote for a candidate, any candidate. Whichever candidate you feel represents you, your voice, and your area.
Because if you DON’T vote, you can’t really complain about the outcome.