There are plenty of reasons why people don’t vote, and I’m certainly not going to start with any of that ‘if you don’t vote, you can’t complain’ rhetoric or try to guilt you by saying people died for your vote.
Shaming people for not voting is useless, misguided and damaging (for more on this see this excellent piece from the brilliant Zoe Stavri: https://stavvers.wordpress.com/2015/04/13/on-victim-blaming-and-voting/).
But if you feel apathetic, disinterested, disengaged, feel like politicians don’t have your best interests at heart, or you’re part of the ‘Unheard Third’ and still want to register your opinion, you can – by voting NONE on your ballot paper.
The following guidance comes from blankvote.org.uk:
– Don’t put a cross anywhere on the paper – just put one line through all of the empty boxes
– Write NONE in big letters across the paper
It’s as simple as that.
Currently UK ballot papers don’t have a ‘none of the above’ option (pretty undemocratic, no?). People are campaigning for change, however, such as this petition: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/inclusion-of-an-official-none-of-the-above-option-for-all-uk-elections-2
Indeed, the entire voting system (and arguably, the entire political system) needs complete reform. It doesn’t serve the people of today. The next parliament, whoever they may be, need to start immediate modernisation of the system if they want to see higher voter turnout, and offer a genuine ‘none of the above’ option for people to register their discontent.
Political non-voters are often simply dismissed as apathetic or disinterested in politics. This is often not the case. Many of my friends won’t engage with what they view is a corrupt system, so they won’t be voting this year.
I am predicting, however, that more people will come out in support of the Green Party than current polls suggest. Many of my anarchist friends, some who have never voted, have registered to vote this time due to the rise of UKIP, who they fiercely oppose.
So vote, don’t vote, or vote NONE. Those are your options. Do what feels right to you.
(And also, don’t feel like you have to stick with the same party you voted for last time, or vote for the same party as your friends or family. Your vote is between you and the ballot box. I voted Lib Dem last time. No comment required.)
See http://www.blankvote.org.uk for more info on voting NONE and watch the excellent video on the right which explains why voting NONE could sway what happens come May 7th.
Will you be voting, not voting, or voting NONE? Let us know in the comments!