Even Though The Polls Are Narrowing, This Is Why You Still Need To Vote

It’s incredibly tempting to think that your vote ‘won’t make a difference’ just because it looks like parties are on an even keel. Here’s why that isn’t true

Even Though The Polls Are Narrowing, You Still Need To Vote

by Helen Nianias |
Published on

You’ve all been nagged into registering to vote by the likes of JME, Snapchat, Zoella, and many more people, but you’ve got to remember to actually vote on the day. The General Election is on Thursday 8 June and now you need to use your ballot. Here’s why.

The youth vote is really important

Only 42% of 18-24-year-olds are predicted to vote in this election, but if the turnout reaches 60% then young people could swing up to 37 constituencies. Basically, your vote matters.

Labour has narrowed the Conservative lead to just five points and the party’s spokespeople are now saying that a win for Jeremy Corbyn is a very real possibility.

It’s telling that the Conservative party was the only party that didn’t remind their social media followers to register to vote, because you’re less likely to vote Conservative if you’re young, and the fact that young people aren’t automatically enrolled at universities anymore (thanks, Tories) means that students are much more likely to be disenfranchised.

It’s extra important if you’re a woman

The Debrief has been meeting young women across the country as part of our Bursting The Bubble series and hearing their political affiliations and concerns. Many of the women we have met have said that they’re not planning to vote, and we’ve heard lots of stories about women feeling unconfident or poorly informed and somehow that taking part in democracy isn’t something they’re entitled to.

If you want a brief rundown of what each party stands for, have a look here.

This has been reflected in Fawcett Society research, who found that women are 2.5% less likely to vote. Less than 1/3 of young women voted in 2010. Nag: women literally died so we could have the right to vote.

More likes doesn't equal a guaranteed win

Just because a party is becoming more popular, it doesn’t necessarily mean that people who like them will necessarily be arsed to toddle down the street and put their cross in the box. The problem is that it’s the party with the highest number of constituency wins that wins the overall election, not the party with the highest number of individual votes.

This means that an uptick in popularity for your party of choice won’t necessarily translate into votes where they matter.

Even if your party loses, your vote gives them a stronger hand

After the referendum, the Leave campaign ultimately won but the fact that their majority was really a very slim one (52% versus 48%) hasn’t given them as strong a hand as they’d like. Their argument that it is the ‘will of the British people’ has absolutely been undermined by the fact that their majority is skimpier than anything ever worn by Rita Ora.

One of the most striking things about the referendum is that 28% of people who had bothered to register vote didn’t then bother to put their cross in the box. Leave might have won by some 1,200,000 votes, but when you consider the fact that 13 million people chose not to exercise their democratic right, you know which is the most striking statistic. If everyone who had registered did vote, we can only wonder what the result would have been.

**It’s easy to relax when you think you’re on top, but don’t become complacent **

The Conservative Party have been very keen to show that they’re not taking a win for granted. Even after their major victories at the local elections in May, nobody was crowing. Their strategy is clear – that they need to fight for every vote and it’s not over until the polls close. A sensible path to take.

Think about how wrong predictions have been recently: Clinton was supposed to handily beat Trump and Brexit was never going to happen. Doesn't make Labour's jump look so significant and it shows that nothing is certain.

At Glastonbury last year I nearly had a seizure because one of my best friends ‘didn’t have the time to vote’ because she was getting her hair braided and ‘it’s not like we’ll leave’. She really regretted it when the vote came in for Brexit. I wonder how many other women had just dismissed the importance of voting on the day because they glibly assumed that their side would win?

**TL;DR **

You only get one go at this every five years. Don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t have the right to have a say. These policies will affect you, so whether you think that Labour is right to want to scrap tuition fees, or you have more faith in ‘strong and stable’ Theresa May, make sure you make your mark.

You might also be interested in:

Theresa May Brings The Boring On The One Show

A Guide To The Main Political Parties Manifesto Policies

Bursting The Bubble: What Do The Women Of Boston And Skegness Think About Brexit?

Follow Helen on Twitter @helennianias

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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