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A vote is more than a cross on a piece of paper

JANUARY 21, 2020

There are lots of elections being held tomorrow across 27 English County Councils, 7 other English authorities, in all Welsh and Scottish Councils as well as elections for Mayors of 6 Combined Authorities. Some people don't think they need to vote in local elections, but all opportunities to have your voice heard are really important!

Ten reasons to use your vote if you have one!

1. It's your right. The simplest reason of them of all, but perhaps the most important. Less than 100 years ago, women didn't have the right to vote and people died fighting for the privilege to place their cross on a piece of paper. A law was passed in 1918 that allowed female householders over the age of 30 to vote. It wasn’t until 1928 that women over the age of 21 were given the right to vote. On June 14 1913, suffragette Emily Davison died after throwing herself in front of a horse at the Epsom Derby to highlight this inequality.

2. People in other countries still can’t vote. There are people living in other countries who can’t vote because they’re poor, because of their gender or because they don’t live in a democracy. They’re still fighting for the right to vote. On May 4, vote for you and vote for them.

3. Not all perfect but. Political parties can represent your values and beliefs but you may not agree 100% with everything that they say or want to do. But if you broadly agree with a party’s values and agree with most of its policies, get stuck in and vote. If you’re waiting for perfection, you might be waiting a very long time…

4. ‘They’re all the same…’ This is simply not true. A lot of politicians might LOOK the same or BEHAVE in a similar way. But even the most basic research shows that the main parties have very different views on a range of issues like the economy, the NHS, education, immigration, the economy and much more. Do your research and understand what and who you are voting for.

5. Don’t let negative headlines put you off. It’s good to read the news from a variety of different sources and be well informed, but don’t let negative headlines put you off voting. Do your own research, think for yourself and come to your own conclusions. Use your vote in the right way for the right reasons and vote for policies rather than for personalities.

6. The winners represent you. Elected representatives have a duty to represent you so you should have a say as to the best person for the job. With issues close to home such as the abandoned car, the pot-holed road, the rubbish dumped on the grass verge, the planning development on the next street, the lack of public transport - the people standing for election on May 4th can all do something about the issues that affect your everyday life. And if you plan to hold them to account for what they do in office, it makes sense to play a part in their election by using your vote.

7. You pay your taxes. So it’s your money that is being spent! Each party has very different plans for how it wants to spend your money. By voting you can have a say on what happens to your hard-earned cash and lobby your elected representative accordingly. Vote and have your voice heard.

8. Big decisions are being made. Elected representatives at local and national levels make decisions which affect many aspects of our day-to-day lives. Local councillors still make important decisions about schools, children’s services and social services and they can rule on planning applications and transport issues. We will also see real power in the hands of local people with six regions in England holding elections to elect new Combined Authority Mayors who will have control over new long term budgets from central government and will implement transport investment, strategic planning, improve skills and invest in new homes. Even more reason to use your vote!

9. Play your part in national politics. Like it or not, many commentators see the elections on May 4th as an indication of the standing of the main political parties before the snap General Election called for June 8th. With the pollsters already suggesting how things will go, only you and your vote can affect the result. If you don’t vote, nothing changes and some want things to stay the same. Sick of things how they are? The power to make a change is in your hands.

10. Voting is free and it matters. Of course it can be fun to vote on reality TV. But at the end of the day, what difference does it make? Simon Cowell makes his millions no matter which singer you pick up the phone for. The outcome of the elections on May 4th will affect the lives of thousands of people all over the country. It has a direct impact on how much money they have, whether they have a job, what sort of education they receive, the quality of their healthcare and so much more. Use your vote and use it wisely.

#YourVote #YourVoice

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