Tomorrow in the UK is election day, your chance to participate in the running of the country. It’s not for me to say who you should vote for, but think about a couple of things:
If you don’t vote, then don’t complain about the result afterwards. And remember that there are plenty of people who would love to vote but are not able to.
And if you do vote, and your choice gets into power and they immediately withdraw their promises and let everyone down, then it will be on your conscience for evermore.
Voting is easy. If you are a registered voter you should have a white Poll Card. If you take it along to the polling station, it makes life a lot easier, but it is not essential.
Make sure you go to the correct place. Usually it’s the one near where you live. Mine is maybe a dozen yards from my flat, but if you live in the country, it could be a drive (or you may have a postal vote).
The whole system is a bit dated. It’s a shame we cannot vote electronically. Counting would become easier and the results would be available very quickly.
When you get to the polling station, identify yourself, take the form they give you to a booth where you will find a pencil, place a single X against your choice (double check you have the correct one), return the form to the box and you are done.
Don’t use phones or camera there. You will only be there a minute, why would you and besides, people are entitled to their privacy here.
The opening times for the station are available all over, including on your poll card. Usually it’s 7am to 10pm. Early, it can be busy with folk voting before work. In the evening, it can also be busy, but don’t leave it to the last moment. I go during the day, because i can, and never have to wait.
The people who work there are very friendly and helpful. If you have any problem, do ask.
It is supposed to be aa secret ballot, but it isn’t. You have a voter number and your ballot paper has a number that is recorded against your name, so theoretically someone could match you up with your actual vote.
If someone outside the polling station asks who you voted for, you don’t have to say. If they ask to see yor poll card, this can be quite useful as it means they know you have voted and won’t be pestering you later to go and vote. But that’s your choice.
If you make a mark other than a cross in the box, someone will have to interpret it. If your intentions are clear, it will count, otherwise it will be a spoiled paper. Sadly, little attention is paid to these. If you write “They are all idiots” across your paper, it will just be ignored.
And don’t think your vote does not count. My constituency is always won by the same person by a huge majority – they got 70%+ of the vote in the last election. Even if their seat is ‘safe’ (and nothing is totally safe), a drop in the majority tells them something. And seats which are margnal are the ones that really determine the result.
No-one is going to ask you why you voted the way you did, and you can base your choice on anything you like, nice hair, straight teeth or even policies. You get an automatic right to vote when you reach 18. I have always though that people under that age should be allowed to vote if they can pass a test eg who was the previous prime minister. Maybe we should all have a test…
This time, I think, we are in for some surprises…