Friday, 6 May 2011

Where Were The Voters?

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

I am by no means a politician, but I was brought up to always vote. So today I am taking the bull by the horns with a rant.

My parents told me about the way that suffragettes had died or been imprisoned so that I could have my vote. This left an impression on my mind and I have always voted when the opportunity arose.

There are countries today who do not have the privilege of voting and whose people would give anything to be able to do so.
We take for granted our right to vote and I wonder if it was taken away from us, whether there would be indignation, an uprising ....or wouldn't anybody notice?

Why were there no other voters in the building when I popped into my local voting station at 9 am? The time when many mothers would have dropped off their children and had an opportunity to call into the local polling station?
Why, when I travelled by bus later on in the day, passing several polling stations on my journey, didn't I see any people going in or coming out?

Why do we have this total apathy when it comes to local government voting?
People grumble all the time when they don't like what the City Council does or doesn't do.
Surely they realise that this is the chance to do something that could change things?

We didn't have a local government vote this time but there was the chance to vote about whether we wanted the AV or not and I would have thought that this would have provoked some strong feeling one way or another.
Seems like I was mistaken. Not many seem to care or understand it.
Complete apathy.

Today, I was listening to my local radio programme where listeners were invited to ring in and say whether they had voted or not and give their reasons why they had or hadn't.
It seemed to be the older generation who phoned to say they had voted. Younger people said that they had been too busy, couldn't see the point, that all politicians were the same no matter who you voted for, or that they didn't understand it.

So there we are...... lets hope that when the non voters don't like something that is going on in local government, that they will not grumble when they haven't even taken the trouble to vote.
Should voting be made compulsory like the census?

What do others think?


Formerly known as Frau said...

I can't even imagine not exercising my right to vote! People think their vote doesn't matter are so ignorant and their the first to complain.

slommler said...

Same thing happens here...apathy!! Corruption in politics and saturation by the media!! It is sad!
I vote too

Brian Miller said...

always vote, even if there is no good choice...have to use you voice so you dont lose it you know...

TechnoBabe said...

Even if voting were compulsory, some people would not bother. Look at other laws that people refuse to follow. Like car insurance. Or drugs.
You have a good attitude, and you remind us all that we live in a place where we still have the right to vote.

Elaine said...

If you force people to vote when they don't want to (for whatever reason) then there's a very good chance they will vote 'stupidly'. All it would take would be a facebook campaign to encourage people to vote for the least popular and most ridiculous party. If a facebook campaign can succeed in getting a ridiculous song to the number one chart position at Christmas (so that the x factor winner didn't), then that's scary stuff.

Out on the prairie said...

I have always used my vote every election.I feel my one can perhaps make that winning difference. At least my voice is being heard.

Nora said...

Thinking of suffragettes makes me seethe with anger. We've come a long way. Heck yes, I always vote.

Jayne said...

It's very worrying if the younger folk don't vote, as when they get to being older folk, will they still not vote? What happens to the country then? There's a rising tide of apathy, alas.

Jeni said...

This post definitely has my VOTE! I agree wholeheartedly with your analysis of the voting process and have always voted for almost 40 years now! (OKay, there was a time -about 7 years worth -when I lived in Maryland and didn't vote -mainly because I had no clue as to where to go to register and then to vote. Not a very good excuse, I know, but it's the truth of how my life was back then.) Around here -well probably throughout the whole country I believe -voter apathy is rampant. We all bitch and complain about the government from time to time -sometimes, all the time -but so many people do that and yet, refuse to go pull that lever or make their mark in the polls. That's your opportunity to make that difference, change things on the local, state and federal level then by exercising your right to vote. Just do it! If everyone did just that, I'm betting we'd have a whole new group of reps and senators in our state capital and in Washington then too -which I often believe is just exactly what our government here needs too!

Celia said...

I always vote, national elections down to local levies for schools. I think it is the older of us who vote most regularly. I think its important and important to email our reps and let them know what we think. I'm working on my grandkids trying to interest them in what is happening here.

Pauline said...

I was taught that if people before me had fought for a right, then it is my duty to uphold that right. I agree with you wholeheartedly!

secret agent woman said...

I can't see it ever being compulsory in this country, but it infuriates me that so many people don't vote. And then they complain about the outcome anyway!

Happy Frog and I said...

I was always taught that I should vote and I always have. I really do not understand why people would not want to exercise their right to vote. Good post Maggie. Hope you have a good weekend. x

What About the Girl? said...

Yes to voting!!

(We are celebrating mother's day weekend here. There isn't a day of the year that a mother isn't special. So Happy Mother's Day to you!)

Working Mum said...

I think a lot of my generation (Thatcher's children) are either disillusioned or apathetic. I've lived in three constituencies and in all three my vote did not count at all. Throughout my voting life I have lived in 'safe' seats so there's not point in my voting since my chosen party will never win and I never feel represented at local or national level. With the first past the post system my vote will never, ever be counted. Is this democracy?

However, I have still exercised my right to vote in every election since I turned 18.

I duly voted on Thursday, although I would have liked to have been voting for Proportional Representation rather than AV. The current system favours those in power so they will seek to keep it so and their cries the next day of "the people don't want a change" are incorrect, the people didn't want AV! - ask them if they want PR! But the party in power will never ask for PR because they will lose their power!

Sorry for the rant, but after 23 years of voting, I'm becoming disillusioned!

Mickle in NZ said...

Dear Maggie- I am so very fortunate to live in the first country that gave women the vote - NZ women have had this right since 1893, and we had great celebrations in 1993.

Here the "local body" elections (councils, regional councils, health boards etc....) are by a postal vote, which I find very useful as there are so many to pick from and multiple to chose in each category. This year we have a general election in November - we have already been told the date (which I can't remember).

Like you, I share the view that those who don't make the (small, minor) effort to vote should have zilcho right to later complain council or govt wise.

BTW - voting is compulsory in Australia!


Anonymous said...

Yeah it's easy to be complacent when you have it so good. The chance to vote is just a dream for so many people in places ruled by ruthless dictators. We are very lucky.
(p.s. This is GoneBackSouth under a new guise by the way) xxx

Maggie May said...

Working Mum......... yes, I do understand and it is very frustrating because I experience the same thing. too.
I was also hoping for a PR and thought that the AV was slipped in to put people off. it really wouldn't suit the two major parties to win this vote so you can guess I don't support either of them!
Maggie x

Suburbia said...

Exactly Maggie!!

I dragged my 2 along after school at about 4.15, they moaned about why I had to go to vote and I said the same as your parents, women died for us to have this right, I'm certainly not going to let them die for nothing now!

When we got there, it was depressing to see no one else there at all, and the poor people running it had seen almost no one at all for the whole day. What's wrong with people? It's hardly a hardship to turn up, even if it's only to 'spoil' your paper in displeasure!

I think compulsory voting is a good idea as long as there is enough choice.

(Stepping off soap box...)

Suburbia said...

Just read Working Mums comment, and totally agree with her too!

Hilary said...

I'm with you.. I just can't imagine not exercising my right. We had our federal election last Monday and our numbers at the poll were actually up considerably.