On The General Election

No, before you ask, this is NOT another rant about who voted for who. I have already been devastated by the realisation that some of my nearest and dearest and I no longer hold compatible political views (seriously, drinking to forget has never seemed so necessary). This is….observations and questions – actually, it’s just ONE observation and question, and this is seriously bothering me – so if you are politically engaged and can help dumbo me to reach a place of understanding, please do so. Comments/education/enlightenment welcomed!

turnout

image credit: BBC website, screenshot for reference

My observation/question is this: just 66% of the potential electorate turned out to vote. That means 34% (over a third!) of my fellow countrymen didn’t vote. And I don’t understand why not. Is it because they’re like my friend Paul, who took a firm apathetic stance, and refuses to budge? “I don’t like any of them, so I’m voting for none of them,” he said. Or is it something else? I know one person on my Facebook feed who forgot to register, because they’ve just started a new university degree and they’re a bit preoccupied. Or is it worse? They can’t vote, they’re deemed incapable of voting, or they can’t manage to get to the polling stations.

This last possibility bothers me more than I thought it would. I know our voting system offers postal and proxy votes, but do people use these? Or are the very people who need them and could make use of them unaware of how they work? Could we have done more to help them?

Did people have in-person votes, but at the last minute have a car breakdown? A poorly child? An emergency at work? I mean, I find it hard to imagine that 15.7m people suddenly lapsed into comas at 6.59am on May 7th and woke up miraculously at 10.01pm. Could we – could – have done more to help people exercise their democratic rights?

Nearly 16 million people didn’t vote. Why?

And perhaps more importantly, if those 15.7 million people HAD voted….would it have made a difference?

I am genuinely concerned that we (or rather, I) didn’t do more to help people vote. How can we miss out 16m people and call it a result?

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