The recent elections have got me thinking. 23 May 2014

I am not going to pretend I know a lot about politics. 

In fact, I know far less than I should do. But what I do know is that the turnout to the recent elections is so much lower than it should be. 

According to the BBC website only 36% of eligible voters actually cast a vote. In a Western country where we all have the right to vote, I find that shocking. There are people in the world who would give anything to be in the same position as us, and we take our rights for granted. As a woman, I am still thankful to the generations of other women who fought for our right to vote and have a say in how our country is run. I know this isn’t a general election but local and European elections still affect all of us and how we live and they are important.

I may be wrong, but I think that people with more extreme views are more likely to vote as they are extremely passionate about their beliefs. If those people who sit on the fence decide not to have their say, perhaps thinking that their one vote won’t make a difference anyway, then it is far more likely that we get the wrong people in power.

I understand why some people have felt completely disillusioned by politics of late. The younger generation are in thousands of pounds worth of debt coming out of universities, can’t get jobs, can’t buy houses, and we’re going to have to work until we die because we’re not going to get any kind of sustainable state pension. But that doesn’t mean it has to be that way forever. In fact, if certain politicians get their way, it could get even worse. If we are all educated properly about the different political parties and don’t just vote for the people the media pay the most attention to, then we can make proper decisions about who we place our trust with and hopefully make our futures brighter. That doesn’t happen, though, if only 36% of people take ten minutes out of their day to go into their local village hall and put a cross on a bit of coloured paper.

I hope that people make more of an effort at the general election next year. There really is no excuse not to vote. The polling stations are open for about fifteen hours, and we are all given the options of voting by post or by proxy. Please don’t let people who are going to make bad decisions get into power. We all have an influence in what happens, and I guarantee that those people who don’t vote are going to be the first people to complain when it all goes wrong.

Hannah Schmitz

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