THE BLOG

Here's Why I Consider It Essential to Vote, But Don't Think Compulsory Voting Is the Answer!

21/04/2015 17:21 BST | Updated 21/06/2015 10:59 BST

With the 2015 General Election looming large, there seems little doubt that it will be a close one. I stood as an Independent Candidate in the previous 2 elections, I'm not standing this time ( I thought I'd get that out of the way)

Also important to state that in this article I'm not going to try to convince you to vote in a particular way.

No, in this article I want to address something I see mentioned a lot on social media...

Many people shy away from posting on social media about their political views, because it can alienate people, maybe leading to slanging matches and even breakdown of friendships.

People seem braver though, when it comes to posting about how useless all the candidates are, that they wish there was a 'none of the above' option on the ballot, that they were going to protest by spoiling their ballot, or not going to vote at all.

How about 'it won't make any difference,' or 'they're all the same.' Do you see those posts too?

Hmm...

Now, while I'm politically engaged, I can understand that other people aren't. What I have trouble with understanding, is when people say all the candidates are the same, but then ask 'who is even standing locally?'

Well, how about finding out who is standing locally, rather than simply dismissing them all?

If you say your vote doesn't make a difference, is it possible that there are enough non voters in your constituency to win the whole seat? That's the case in my constituency, and that swathe of no voters contains *all* the people that said their vote wouldn't make a difference!

Some people say that you have to vote, that you have to vote because that right was fought and died for, that if you don't vote you can't complain. I used to hold both those views, and while the right to vote was indeed fought and died for, it's also a right to choose *not* to vote.

As you can see, I think it's vital to take part by voting, but if none of the candidate make a positive claim to your vote, should you be forced to vote?

I don't think compulsory voting is the answer. If someone was voting because they legally had to, when they don't want to, I think they'll do one of two things...

They'd either simply draw or scribble on the ballot paper, which would surely be a waste of time all round, or, and this is where it gets really dangerous, they might just put a cross next to *any* name.

How many would choose to just tick the first name on the list? The candidates are listed alphabetically, which would lead to a whole load of candidates called Aaron Aardvark.

That's dangerous, because it might lead to election results which do not reflect people's votes. People could argue that our current 'first past the post ' system is already skewed, and while I probably agree with that, it's not as potentially dangerous as random voting!

So, with the model of either big party winning a big majority seemingly gone, we are currently in a position where votes count. The votes for the smaller parties vote.

Vote for what you believe in I've never been a fan of tactical voting. Vote for what you believe in, and it will show in the results. If you don't fell engaged enough to vote, *get* yourself engaged! Ask questions, find out anything you feel you need to know.

You don't have to vote, I don't think compulsory voting is the answer. If you choose not to vote, that's your right to choose that, but I think it's the wrong choice.

I'd love to hear what you think!

Follow me on facebook.com/thegreatgordino

Visit my blog thegreatgordino.com