Thursday, 28 April 2016

Why You Should Vote in the Local Elections

If you’ve picked up a paper or watched the news or just spent some time on social media you’ll be very aware that this year is an election year. 

Whilst much of the coverage has focused on either the US Primaries, the London mayoral election or the EU referendum; May 5th is the day of local elections across the country. Here’s a few reasons why voting on the 5th is a good idea:

Councils are more than bins & potholes
I promise! Councils look after a lot more than you might expect; this includes care services for the elderly, services that people struggling with addiction, sexual health services, how where you live approaches environmental issues, libraries…the list goes on. If you have any opinions about any of those things, you should vote on May 5th

Councils are going to get more power
The government is really keen on devolution, or giving local areas the chance to design their own solutions to problems. This means it’s super important that you get your voice heard so that your local council looks the way you want it to.

Local elections are used to measure how well the government is doing
Local elections are generally used as a yard stick to see how well people think the government and opposition parties are doing in terms of selling their policies to the general public. Therefore if you have a message that you want to send the main political parties, this is a great way to do it.

Councillors are a lot more hands-on than MPs
Generally speaking, local councillors have a lot more contact with their constituents than MPs as they don’t have to spend lots of time in London. This means it’s a lot easier to raise issues with them, and your answers will be tailored to your local area, as opposed to national policies.

Voting is just important 
Every election cycle there is normally some high-profile person that feels the need to bang the drum about how the entire political system is flawed and that people just shouldn’t vote (looking at you Russell Brand). But by not voting you send a signal to your politicians that you don’t care and therefore they shouldn’t attempt to design policy with you in mind. By turning up to vote, even if you spoil your ballot, you're showing that you are here and care and want your voice to be heard.

I was totally supposed to publish this post before the registration deadline (#deadlaptopproblems) so hopefully you're all registered, if not you can still register for the EU referendum here. You can check your local council's website to find out about local councillors in your area. 

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