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General Election - Are you voting?

Will you be voting in the next election?  

26 members have voted

  1. 1. Will you be voting in the next election?

    • Yes
    • No

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IIRC the places where online voting has been piloted didn't actually increase turnout significantly enough to rollout further.

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I remember the rolling brown-outs, the union militancy, the poor state of the economy, politicians being held in contempt by the public, the fact I couldn't watch my favourite cartoons on TV. :)

Lol - I remember playing rugby for school and then having to have cold bath and then playing Top Trumps in candle light. I'd forgotten about that!

The point is that I have heard a lot of interview say " I voted labour because my parents always did so"

I'd disown my kids if they said that! Just as with religion, it's up to them to make up their own mind and just my job as a parent to help them reach a choice.

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Would compulsory voting with a none of the above box be a solution?

My gut feeling says that getting your arse down to the voting box should be compulsory and there those that say we dont' want to vote or don't know who to vote for would have a suitable box.


The point I was trying to make is that if you don't vote for a party then other people's votes count more. It doesn't matter how (or why) you don't vote. So going to the polls and ticking "none of the above" doesn't change the fact that you didn't contribute to the actual process of choosing who to put in power.

For example take a look at the last elections we had (European Election 2009). Due in part to apathy towards politicians and due to a lack of interest caused by it being for the European parliament, the turn out in certain areas was lower than in other elections. Yet the people who didn't turn up are the people who would normally vote for one of the major parties. Specifically labour lost 6.9% where as Conservative, UKIP and Lib Dems combined gained only 2.5%. This lead to parties such as the British National Party (BNP) gaining 2 new seats, despite the fact that their support increased only marginally.

It was the lack the voting for other parties which caused the BNP to gain seats. If you like the BNP this is a good thing. If you just couldn't be bothered that time around and don't like the BNP, you have only your own inaction to blame.

The same problem exists with "none of the above" as an option, as it's still a non-vote.

Unless the system was changed significantly so that non-votes actually have some purpose (other than statistics) compulsory voting would do more harm than good.

To clarify yes it is important to make your voice heard and it's important to become part of a statistic which is measuring voter apathy. However you shouldn't become a statistic at the expense of your vote. Doing so is oxymoronic. It's like committing suicide to protest against legalising assisted suicide - noteworthy but ineffectual.

PS. To those in the know ... Yes, I know that there different factors affecting the European Election than other Elections and a direct statistical comparison isn't always a good idea. However I'm not writing a dissertation here and I think my point stands well despite the factors I've not mentioned.

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If you were forced to go vote would you really chose "none of the above"?

Who are you asking? Everyone in general?

If you're asking me I ask you go re-read what I've written.

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Guest Zenith
If you were forced to go vote would you really chose "none of the above"?
If the electoral system was reformed to be compulsory, you'd have to have a "None of the above" option for those who CBA.

I *personally* wouldn't vote "None of the above", I'd vote for whoever's policies I mostly agree with.

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Fine, lets get into this then Astrolux.

Spoiling ballots as a means to protest (against all the politicians being "the same") says to me more about the attitude of the person who isn't voting, than it does about the politicians.

Brilliant, so you're jumping straight to preconceived notions right there, good start.

There are two groups of non-voters; People don't vote because they can't be bothered and people don't vote because they say that "there isn't anyone worth voting for". Although this second group is trying to distinguish themselves from the first, in truth they also just can't be bothered. Most of them probably couldn't even tell you why all of the parties are "as bad as each other". They blame the (often quite real) problems that we have with politicians today for their own lack of action.

Okay, if you want me to go into why I think they're “all the same” then we can have a nice long chat about that, and do you know why we can do that? Because if I choose to spoil my ballot, its because I've thought long and hard about it, and its not because of your massive sweeping generalisation that all of us who would do that “CBA” that you later state.

Put simply we're all Human and none of us are perfect. Voting is about picking the least bad apple in the basket. We can't blame the politicians for the non-voters which can't be bothered to pick which of the parties that he/she thinks will mess up the least. Yes the politicians don't help the situation by being cryptic, dodging questions, breaking promises, etc. Neither does the media, but ultimately the responsibility of not voting lies with the non-voter.

Voting is NOT about picking the “least bad apple”. Voting is about choosing someone to represent you and your country, its about choosing someone you believe in! All I hear when anyone says we that we have to put up with a load of screaming children as the leaders of our country all because I personally don't want to be a politician is a load of bollocks. And you back up my point by stating what these childish little shits constantly do, which to bring all those little points into one, is LYING. You are quite happy to vote in one of these cocks because what? They lie a little bit less than the others, they're not quite so cryptic, they dodged one less question? This isn't The Weakest Link! “Sorry Gordon, you were the weakest link with one more dodged question than the rest, goodbye”.

Going around screaming that "none of them are worth voting for" while not participating in the election, just doesn't do anyone any good. No matter how you do the screaming - whether it's through a blog, out of a window, or by spoiling ballot papers. (At best the non-voter becomes a statistic which will probably be discussed and then dutifully ignored, as winbar points out.)

Now I'm happy to partially agree here. If we look back at what happened with the London Mayoral Elections we see that there were 500,000 thousand spoilt ballots. This figure was put down to a “complicated voting paper”, and maybe it was, don't know, wasn't there, but FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND people were allegedly too stupid to figure out how to put a tick in a box. Maybe that's so, and maybe they can get away with the “complicated ballot paper” excuse for that, but for the main election, you can piss off if they think that they can use that excuse on a “simpler” election. I for one can't believe that so many people can't figure out how to tick a box correctly just in London, you have to do more than that to sign up for benefits and people can figure that out quite well can't they? So maybe they will try to roll out a bullshit excuse for the amount of spoilt ballots, but I'm not buying it.

Not voting (even as a means of protest) is the equivalent of dodging the question. Which is ironically a big part of what the non-voter is supposedly protesting against / complaining about.

No, not voting is making yourself one of a growing statistic of unhappy would be voters but I think I covered that enough in my last point so moving on.

Anyone who seriously and honestly thinks that voting is pointless because whoever gets in will just mess it up really hasn't thought it through logically. If after thinking it through they still really believe that voting is pointless, then they're lying to themselves. Not voting (including being a statistic via ballot spoiling) just results in other voters having more of a say. Anyone spoiling a ballot paper is quite simply wasting everyone's time.

Who's time am I wasting? The people counting the polls? Nope, they've been counting the spoiled ballots for decades just never publishing the figures, and regardless whether they're making a mark next to a party name or next to the “spoil” box whilst counting, its gonna take the same amount of time. If you're trying to say I'm wasting “everyone's” time as in people, the “public” then HOW?! Explain that to me.

And whilst you say that it means other voters have more of a say, have you heard about the system we have? First past the post? Ring any bells? I'm in a “very safe” constituency. My vote is basically worthless as I have no intention of voting for the incumbent, which is tory in southern England, so ya, there won't be any “massive swing” going on around here.

Instead of wasting people's time I would highly encourage anyone who believes that "all the parties are the same" to do 4 simple things.

1. Ensure that they are registered to be able to vote. http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/ is an ideal quick way to do that.

Hard to spoil a vote if you're not registered ;)

2. Vote for one of the parties whenever the opportunity comes up. I will happily tell you which one if you ask me and I dare say that you could do worse than accept my advice. Ultimately though which party you vote for is your choice. Whether to vote or not really isn't a choice you should be considering - you should always vote.

Ah right, so whilst you've said if I spoil my vote its giving more say to other voters, you'd instead have me vote for who you want to vote for? You want me and others to take advise from someone who thinks we should vote for the lesser of two evils. Yea, love that idea, its genius...

3. Write a letter (shorter than this forum post is fine) to their MP explaining what they mean by "all the parties are the same". http://www.writetothem.com/ is an ideal quick way to do that.

I'm afraid that you've got me on this point, I haven't sent any letters to my local MP, but of course its a bit late for that now that government has been dissolved, but its certainly something I'll keep in mind come whatever government we have next. Unfortunately though this will do nothing considering that people will have either voted them in so they'll have a nice 5 years ahead of them, or it'll be a hung parliament that won't last more than 12 months.

4. Share copies of the letter with others, either via a blog posting or perhaps just by sending it to a local newspaper, or parish bulletin and hoping that they have a slow news day (or an influx of such letters).

I regularly contribute to several blogs under a pseudonym so I'll skip this part.

Oh.. yeah.. and if that's too much effort then I advise they stop pretending, be honest and admit that really they don't vote because they can't be bothered. (People who tell me CBA don't get the above speech, people who make up an excuse do)

I CAN be bothered to vote, you can take this from the fact that I've responded to you in this fashion, and that I'm going to make the effort to go down to “vote” on the day of the election. I don't really know if you're saying that everyone has the same reasons for spoiling, so you'll need to clarify for me on that, but you seem to have a very small world view, and if someone doesn't agree with you, then you give them a speech about how you're right and they're wrong, and that their view is clearly rubbish compared to whatever you're thinking. I like to think I know what I'm talking about, I read a lot about politics, and the policies of the party's. I watched the debate, and I listen to interviews with the party leaders and their members. Does this mean I can't be bothered? You tell me, maybe I should be knocking on their doors and getting in their faces?

I'm glad that not everyone is like you, because the world would be an awful place to live, extremely closed minded and liable to send us headlong into a future that, I for one, would prefer to only see in fiction.

Although reading your post further down I agree that compulsory voting is wrong but I'm not going to go into the reasons for this now since you agree, but if anyone wants to talk about that, I'll happily join in.

PS. To those in the know ... Yes, I know that there different factors affecting the European Election than other Elections and a direct statistical comparison isn't always a good idea. However I'm not writing a dissertation here and I think my point stands well despite the factors I've not mentioned.

BTW, try completely different as the electoral systems are so different, that point can't stand when the difference is so huge.

Excuse any typos, this was just written out quickly before I have some food.

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Swyft (& everyone else),

Except for spoiling ballot papers we don't seem to be disagreeing with each other's main points. Although spoiling ballots and various preconceived notions around the concept is what we're discussing. What I'd wanted to do is keep this post short so that the message I was/am trying to convey doesn't get lost - I'm sorry that I don't manage to do this.

I agree completely that voting is about choosing someone to represent you and your country, and on theoretical level there's nothing more to say. If that really was the end of it though we wouldn't have calls to spoil ballot papers. In truth throughout my entire life I've never met someone who I completely agree with / believe in.

What should I do if I don't really completely believe in any of the candidates? That's the question I think we're discussing here and we're discussing it because it's the usual excuse for not voting (as far as I know). I also presume that it's also the usual reason for spoiling ballot papers. More importantly though my posts have been in response to Nivek who said "For those that believe its al the same stuff I advice them to spoil ballots". How one reaches the conclusion that they don't really completely believe in any of the candidates is perhaps irrelevant at this time.

Personally I think that if you don't completely agree with any single party, or if you feel that no single party is really good enough to govern, you should just pick the one you think is "the least bad apple".

I do not think that not voting helps. The point I was trying to make is that if you don't vote for a party then other people's votes count more. It doesn't matter how (or why) you don't vote.

As I understand your logic in your area there are too many people supporting a single dominant party/candidate and so you feel that spoiling ballots is a more effective use of your vote than supporting a candidate you know won't get in. Here you have made a point which I hadn't fully considered previously. After consideration it's obvious to me that in the scenario you present the solution is to either get everyone to vote, or change the system. Will spoiling ballots achieve either of these things? Personally I just don't think so. Also even if I were to concede the point for people in this specific situation, I would have to argue that others shouldn't be encouraged to spoil ballots unless their situation is known.

In lue of everyone voting, or a different system being used I have to say that in this scenario, spoiling ballots to me feels a bit like giving in - I'm sorry I don't wish to offend. I still think that it's best to go for the swing vote, and to encourage others to do the same. If you're positively sure about the numbers in your area then, as your vote can't swing it then I don't really care what you do. However I think that your time might be more productive in different forms of protest.

Yes I do believe that spoiling ballots is wasting time. In part it's the time of the people counting the ballots, but more importantly you're wasting your own time. The time which you take to go down to the polls and not vote could be used to write an open letter about your concerns. I see that you're probably the type of person who'd do both, but I suspect that most people aren't. Instead I presume that they'd do one, the other, or neither.

I do accuse people who spoiling ballot papers of CBA. However I'm not accusing them of CBA to vote, but of CBA to support a specific party and (probably) in a lot of cases CBA to find out about the parties. I see that you're probably not in this group and as there are always exceptions, I'm sorry if my generalisation offended you.

Being a statistic is a good idea. However I feel that forms of protest which don't involve giving up your vote are the way to become a statistic. I suggested writing to an MP previously, there are other options.

We both agree that there probably wasn't 500,000 people too stupid to figure out how to put a tick in a box in the London Mayoral Elections. Has having this statistic actually changed anything? What has been the result of all those spoilt ballots? What were the motives of these people? In what percentages do these motives apply? How many people who didn't go to the polls agree with these motives? What do these people suggest we do about their concerns? With these questions I'm trying to illustrate how other methods of being a statistic are more useful to the country as a whole.

Although you obviously disagree with my assertion that spoiling ballots is wrong, I don't see any argument specifically supporting the spoiling of ballots - in general, rather than just in your specific "safe" area. I'm sorry but your point on point rebuttal conveyed to me what seemed to be annoyance with my way of presenting what I had to say, rather than what I was saying. I don't say this to pick holes in what you've written, as I do appreciated the considered reply. I say this as I'd like to understand how it is that you've come to the conclusion that spoiling ballots is good.

Please tell me if I've misunderstood, simply missed your point, or if you disagree with me. I like to believe that I'm always open to constructive criticism of my own views.

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I think one of the political party's should rename to "Myself" and have a sign outside every polling station going "Vote how you feel!"

..Umm I can do a better job myself, ah! I can vote for myself!


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