Be Prepared – To Vote

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Under the slogan “Be Prepared – To Vote” the Scout Association has launched a campaign to encourage young people to vote, amid fears that over half may not be on the electoral roll. Around 10,000 Scouts will be eligible to cast their ballot for the first time in a general election this year and a website has been set up to encourage them and others to do so.

Earlier this month, the Electoral Commission found that 56% of those aged between 17 and 24 in eight selected areas were not registered to vote.

The Scout Association's Active Citizen website explains why politics matters to young people, alongside advice on registering and volunteering and a includes a forum for politicians to take part in online discussions with young voters. The association is also sending information by post to 50,000 members in an attempt to boost turnout.

Wayne Bulpitt, The Scout Association's UK chief commissioner said: "In scouting we believe it is extremely important for young people to engage in democracy. Every vote counts. We not only want our young members to see why they should vote but how politics impacts on the causes and concerns that they have."

Young people can register to vote from the age of 16, although they are not be able to actually vote until they are 18.

The sad thing is that so many people gave their lives and their freedom for our right to have a voice and a vote and so many, nowadays, of all ages able to vote have not inclination to do so and make use of their democratic right to cast their ballot.

The question of not as to whether the candidate(s) on the ballot paper is your chosen one. Spoil the ballot, if you have to, but make your voice heard somehow.

On the other hand the government must also actually be made to understand that, if only 30-40% of the electorate turn out to vote they do not, in fact, have a legitimate right for power. There have been a majority that have cast a silent vote, saying that they feel disenfranchised and hence any party that is elected with say 55% out just less than half of all voters casting their votes cannot claim that they have the right to form a government. In fact they only have received the votes of less than a quarter of the electorate.

Either we have a democracy or we do not and the way all ballots go in Britain, for instance, we do not seem to and this is the same for government elections, local and central as, for instance, elections for trade union bodies.

The Australians have the right attitude where going top the polls is mandatory. That was the great majority is counted and thus the election can be seen as more or less democratic.

Time we all woke up and time we actually used our vote and voice.

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