In a few hours, the polls will open across the UK. As a nation, we are being asked to vote in the referendum on changing from a first-past-the-post voting system to the alternative vote system. In addition to the referendum, a number of elections are taking place in the constituent countries of the UK — up in Scotland, we’re electing representatives to the Scottish Parliament; while our friends elsewhere are choosing local councils, national assemblies, and new mayors.
I’ve been reminiscing with a friend this week about the election days when we were younger. I remembered being woken up earlier on election days so that I could go to the polling station with my parents before school. I remembered the first time I ever voted in a local council election, a few weeks after my eighteenth birthday. I remembered forgetting to get a postal vote for the 2005 General Election, when I lived in undergraduate halls but was registered to vote in my home constituency, and making a mad dash up there between exams.
I remember that I grew up knowing that I have a right to vote and that I also have a responsibility to do so.
My purpose in writing this is not to persuade anyone of the merits or otherwise of the Liberal Democrats, the Labour Party, the Greens, the Conservative Party, the Pirate Party, UKIP, the SNP, or the one party who have been shoving leaflets through my door for three weeks and whose entire manifesto seems to be based on not liking Turkey. Nor is it to persuade anyone of the merits or otherwise of AV.
My purpose in writing this is simply to remind you all that you have a decision to make.