Working within local government makes me full of excitement for the upcoming elections, however, the feeling isn’t mutual with most people I speak to (shocker there?) Below, I have compiled a list of reasons for why individuals may not vote alongside some suggestions, which will hopefully help combat the evil that plagues most elections – poor turn out.
1.The ‘I don’t know who to vote for’ reason
Up until this point, candidates’ communications strategies may have been fairly subtle to avoid overwhelming and annoying voters with their campaigns. However, with less than a month to go, there’s no doubt mailboxes and community notice boards will be flooded with flyers, brouchers and various other forms of information to help you make an informed decision about who, and more importantly, what you’re voting for. Key points of candidates and their policies can also be found online, especially since the Transparency Fund has provided opportunities for smaller authorities to increase their online presence.
2.The ‘local elections aren’t as important as parliamentary elections’ reason
Local authorities are at the heart of combating the challenges facing communities, working on a more local level, councils often a better understanding of their residents and how issues may be impacting them. MPs and Parliament are increasingly seen as being out of touch with ‘real people’, but local authorities are seminal in forming better links between Westminster and communities, through the work they do with other bodies in the sector. Furthermore, local authorities play an important role in keeping public spaces clean and accessible, as well as promoting multiculturalism and community cohesion.
3.The ‘I don’t have time’ reason
No time? No problem! There’s two simple solutions to this very common reason for not voting – you can either register for a postal vote via your local authority or register with a proxy; where you appoint someone you trust to vote on your behalf. Do note, however, both of these methods must be registered for in advance of the election day – be sure not to leave it too late as you may miss the opportunity!
4.The sad, but honest, ‘I can’t be bothered’ reason
Unlike the other reasons for not voting, the answer to this one is more of a simple – yet hopefully effective – rant: We have the privilege of living in a country where one of the many political freedoms we exercise is the ability to elect our public officials. Many countries all over the world are still fighting for this privilege. If you’re not voting because you feel a great sense of apathy, vote to honour the fight your ancestors fought. Vote for someone you like, vote against someone you dislike, spoil your ballot – just use it!