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Why Doesn’t Everybody Vote?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Posted in: You really should vote

I was just over at Bloggin’ In Black (or whatever it’s called these days) reading a post that was urging people to register to vote, and it really struck a cord with me.

I can’t tell you how mad I get when people tell me that they don’t vote.

My sister incurred my wrath at the last major election, because she didn’t want to vote. I preached at her for about a week, about the importance of having a say in how the country is run. She’s voted in every single local government election since.

TTG and I have a particular set of friends who never vote. Ever. It makes me crazy.

One of the things that my friend (the female half of the couple) and I, were most excited about when we turned eighteen, was that at last we’d be able to have our say. I remember us anxiously waiting for the polling stations to open, so that we could cast our votes. She voted for Lord Such’s Monster Raving Loony Party, and I voted for The Green Party. (Wasn’t that a tree-hugging left-wing thing to do? *g*)

Some would call them wasted votes, but at that time, my friend and I were vehemently opposed to the main political parties, (we were students after all) and this was a way for us to express our dissatisfaction with the political movement in the country.

I’ve never voted for the Green Party since that time, mostly because even their apparently brilliant transport policies were a total farce, and seemed to lack any kind of weight.

That friend, has never cast a vote in any of the elections since. And that fact annoys me to the nth degree.

Her and her husband have young kids, they have a mortgage, he owns his own business. All perfectly good reasons to take an interest in what’s going on in your country methinks.

So why don’t they? Why do some people choose not to vote?

One of the reasons our friends give, is that they don’t believe that there’s any real differences between the parties. I personally think that that’s a lame-assed excuse, because if they truly believed that, they’d simply go and spoil the paper. It may not count as a vote, but it is given as a statistic. Spoiling the ballot paper, tells people that you wanted to vote, but you just didn’t fancy any of the current political parties. Your opinion was heard, even though you ultimately didn’t select a candidate.

Whilst we were in the states, we were listening to a political radio show, where the DJ asserted that Democrats were the ones who were most likely not to vote, never mind keeping up with political news. His opinion was that people who had no real opinion about politics usually called themselves Democrats. The DJ suggested that these people were just lazy.

He made a point that all the Go Vote campaigns were usually conducted by Democrats, aimed at other Democrats. Apparently, a higher percentage of Republicans vote.

As much as I hated to agree with him, he probably had a point. I think the same goes for Labour Party supporters over here.

Anyway, there were a lot of sacrifices made on both sides of the Atlantic, so that our voices could be heard. Why would anybody look to diminish those endeavours, by choosing to not vote?

Like I said, it makes me crazy.

Having been in the US, and noted how many times we had to fill up our rental car, I couldn’t help but wonder why Americans don’t go for diesel. Especially with the current strains on the economy.

I drive a four cylinder two litre diesel car, and I can get 600 miles out of a full tank. The car that we had in America, barely managed three hundred miles.

Back in the eighties, diesel cars used to be hard to start, noisy, and generally deemed to be unsexy, but things are different now.

So why do Americans still insist on paying for fuel that is obviously less efficient?