There is an election coming up next month in the ward in which I live. I know the date as I’ve received my voting card through the post. I don’t know who the candidates are yet but I’ll find that out by using the wonders of the internet.
It’s a local council election and I will go and do my duty as always but no doubt turnout will be low. There will be the usual apathy amongst the voters and there is likely to be more people who don’t make their mark on the ballot sheet than do. No doubt the same old excuses will be wheeled out for the occasion such as ‘They are all the same so what is the point’ and ‘My vote won’t make a difference so I won’t bother’ or ‘It’s only a local election and they don’t count’.
But we live in democracy, at least a form of democracy and our representatives are elected by the collective will of the people. And this means that we are all involved, whether we like it or not, whether we choose to get involved or not or whether we think we care or don’t.
This is because each of us casts a vote at the election. Either a real vote by turning up, going into the booth and making our choice or by not going but instead using our anti-vote. You see as everyone has a vote they all count irrespective of whether they are actually cast. Every voter who does not exercise their right reduces the overall number of votes cast and thereby reduces the amount of votes needed to get elected. The less people actually vote then the smaller number of real votes is required to make a difference.
By deciding not to vote, either consciously or through apathy, you are still affecting the outcome of the election. You are reducing the overall amount of effort required to get elected and you are allowing it to be much easier for individuals to become councillors who do not represent the majority. It could be your anti-vote that seals the fate for the ward, that elects someone to represent you who ends up getting a seat on an important committee that makes a decision that ultimately ends up affecting your life. Would you really want that?
The answer is probably no, unless you trust that person but seeing as you have had no direct involvement in his or her election, only an indirect one then on your own head be it. The local elections are coming up and we all should take them seriously. We should use our anti-votes wisely or better still, go out and cast a real vote.