vote-apathyIn case you live under a rock or haven’t noticed the 75 electoral posters on every lamp post up and down the country, there’s elections coming up. On the 22nd of May the UK will be voting for local councils and also for European parliament representation. Here in Northern Ireland voting has always caused division in that it’s rarely got to do with the party manifesto or what they will do for you as an individual but rather what religion you are and to what degree do you practice it. That to me is a terrible way to elect political representatives but it’s never going to change. Because of this I can completely understand the apathy towards voting by those of us who don’t care about religion in politics and only want the best for the country and our future generations. Not voting though is completely the wrong thing to do.

These elections are using the single transferable voting system which means voters rank their candidates by preference with 1, 2, 3, and so on until they run out of candidates or don’t care any more. Vote counting counts all the #1’s and if any breach an upper % limit, these candidates go through as elected members. At this point the lowest are thrown out. The next round of voting recounts #1’s for unelected remaining candidates or #2’s if that #1 is already elected or thrown out. These rounds continue until all the electoral positions are taken by candidates passing the agreed upper %.

Many tribal voters will have a 1, 2, 3 of the same party which increases the chances of all of that party getting elected together so by not voting at all you are letting these voters speak for you. You’re letting their tribal allegience dictate the elections and possibly create a majority result you’d rather oppose. If you at least get out and rank those candidates you oppose low in your preference, you decrease the chances of this.

So, please for the sake of the country do something on May 22nd and get out and vote against those you oppose even if you can’t decide who to follow.