Is Voting Important? | Politics

Yesterday was the date of my County Council elections and, since I'm now 18, my first time voting. As someone who studies politics for my A-Levels and who is ridiculously excited about the general election on the 8th June, it's not really a surprise to learn that I think voting is really important and something that everyone should do. So, in an attempt to encourage others to vote as much as possible, here's why I think you should vote.

1) Universal Suffrage

As I'm sure you're aware, in the 19th and 20th centuries, women fought incredibly hard to earn the right to vote. They gave their freedom and their lives to this cause because they felt that having the right to voice their opinions and have a say in how the country is governed is something that all people should have. So, naturally, it really grinds my gears when people don't vote because they choose not to educate themselves on politics or because they think it isn't important.
Don't get me wrong, I understand when people choose not to vote out of protest: maybe the candidates aren't representative of your views or the campaign has been poorly run but when people have given so much for your right to vote, you should be able to put some effort towards turning up and telling the Government what you think.

2) Democratic Deficit

Our country is, at least to some extent, facing a democratic deficit. Turnout at elections, local referendums, by-elections and council elections is incredibly low - sometimes less than 50% of the electorate turn up to vote. This means that those who are running our country and the decisions being made are only representative of a tiny amount of the population and so they're largely illegitimate. For example, in the 1990s, Wales had a referendum on whether or not they wanted to have their own devolved assembly. Just over 50% of the electorate voted and just over 50% of those people said that they were in favour of having a Welsh Assembly. This means that only about a quarter of the Welsh people actively said yes to the creation of the assembly and yet it's now there nonetheless.
Basically, decisions cannot, in my opinion, be justified unless a larger amount of people are engaging in politics.

3) Your Vote Counts

It's true that your vote probably won't be the deciding vote between two candidates or the outcome of a referendum but that doesn't mean that it's not important. If everyone was led into that mindset, no one would vote and the political system would be destroyed. I mean, unless that's your goal - in which case, good luck to you - your vote will count for something. Even if you're a Labour voter and your constituency is a safe seat for the Lib Dems, your vote will encourage the party to keep going and will help them to keep operating. Your vote does and will count for something even if you don't see the result that you wanted.

You can

Do you vote? Why / why not?
Let's talk about this in the comments.
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