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Have you registered to vote?

10:53 UK time, Wednesday, 3 March 2010

More than half of young people eligible to vote may not be registered to do so according to the Electoral Commission. How can first time voters be encouraged to register?

The Electoral Commission claims more than 3.5m people may not be registered, while its research indicates that 56% of 17-25 year olds are not on the electoral roll.

Officials have been urged to make "one final push" to get more people registered to vote in the general election.

Are you a first time voter? Have you registered to vote? If not, why not? What should the political parties do to engage with the electorate? What would get you out to vote?

Read Danny Cohen's view of why BBC Three will play a significant role in the BBC's General Election.

This debate has now been closed. Thank you for your comments.

Comments

Page 1 of 5

  • Comment number 1.

    Are you a first time voter?
    No, I'm a will never vote.

    Have you registered to vote?
    Not quite.

    If not, why not?
    Becaue I refuse to endorse a corrupt, meaningless farce.

    What should the political parties do to engage with the electorate?
    Disband.

    What would get you out to vote?
    Nothing.

    Guy Fawkes - the only person with honest intentions ever to enter Parliament.

  • Comment number 2.

    What would get me out to vote. A politician who

    Was honest
    Set a good role model example
    Answered a yes/no question with a yes/no answer
    Stuck to the topic of discussion rather than constantly spinning it to the point of they day they want to make.
    Kept their promises

    Could go on, but as we don't have any that could even meet that there's little point.

  • Comment number 3.

    I have been registered to vote since I moved to my current residence. However my problem is that I do not believe any of the parties standing in the General Election deserve my vote and as we have no option to say 'None of the Above' on the ballot papers I'm struggling to see a reason as to why I should vote.

  • Comment number 4.

    Yes I'm registered to vote.
    If you have the right to vote, use it!
    There may not be anyone to vote FOR, but there is always someone to vote AGAINST.

    If in doubt, vote against.

    If you don't vote, you will have absolutely no right to complain when the next government turns out to be just as bad as the current one.

  • Comment number 5.

    Yes I'm registered and always vote, despite being faced with an ever decreasing variety and quality of people to chose from. However, instead of banging on about what the parties are doing to engage, there comes a time when people have to take responsibility. The youth need to get off their backsides and get involved instead of sitting around waiting for someone else to come and engage them.

  • Comment number 6.

    I was under the impression that if you were not registered on the electoral role you could be subject to a £1000 fine. Am I wrong on this, as this was the blurb on our registration docs from Camden council?

  • Comment number 7.

    I don`t know about first time voters, but I`ve been voting for many years. And now...........?
    I`m at a loss to who will get my vote.
    It is obvious that MP`s can no longer ever be trusted after the latest expenses fiasco. They smirked in the face of the public when accused of these offences and made up childish excuses to cover their GUILT!
    All the main party`s have nothing which can make me vote for them, none of them.
    So, I would imagine first time voters will be looking at the main party`s and thinking to themselves.................what`s the point, they don`t care anyway.

  • Comment number 8.

    I'm registered, but really unsure about whether or not it's worth voting. There is not a single party that I do not find unpleasant, short-sighted and incompetent. Even the least bad would still be a disaster. This is why people have lost interest in voting, and why so many have not even registered.

  • Comment number 9.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 10.

    Sorry, but the parties do not have to engage the electorate more. If people choose not to register then it's either apathy or stupidity.

    At what point did we absolve ourselves of responsibility and expect everyone else to do things for us?

  • Comment number 11.

    If you don't vote, you can't complain.
    That's their choice.
    I first had the vote at the 1979 General Election and have voted in every General, Euro, County, District, Town and Parish (Community in Wales) election, plus any by-elections.
    I am proud to vote and have my say!

  • Comment number 12.

    I have always voted at every election since the 70's. I consider this a public duty. I always vote on principle for the party that overall represents my views (liberal with a small 'l'). I have never voted tactically.

    Engagement is a key concept, but it is hard to see what any of the current political parties can do now to inspire people to vote for them, especially the young. All are tainted with the expenses scandal and the baggage of sleaze, patronage and spin.

    We need a top down and a bottom up approach: an open and transparent political system whereby people of real integrity, drive and passion to make things beeter can rise to the top, and an educational system that promotes good citizenship and the importance of engaging with our democratic system throughout life.

    I see no evidence that either might be a reality.

  • Comment number 13.

    More fool them. So much for this Governments Education. Education. Education policy.

  • Comment number 14.

    People who are too lazy to vote have no right to whinge and whine about the government that gets elected.

  • Comment number 15.

    With the current crop of politicians I would not blame the current youth from not bothering to register to vote. Frankly they are all corrupt to the core and more interested in filling their own pockets than resolving the issues facing the British Citizenry.

  • Comment number 16.

    It'll be my first time voting in a general election this time around.

    Personally I must say voter turnout doesn't bother me. I will always vote regardless, even if I spoil my paper. If other people don't, then that's their problem. Don't vote? Don't complain!

    I will vote Conservative this time. Labour have financially ruined Britain even before the recession, via ridiculous levels of borrowing.

  • Comment number 17.

    Yes (no excuse for the moderators to reject this).
    Yet another attempt by the Labour loving BBC to try and bolster support for their masters. Only the young and gullible are always foolish enough to vote for them.

  • Comment number 18.

    I'm registered to vote and I've voted once - to bring in Tony Blair's government. The experience so disheartened me I doubt I'll ever vote again.

    The only thing that might compel me to vote would be to prevent the BNP (or similar party) getting in. The problem with that would be that the party I voted for would take this as an endorsement of their policies when nothing could be further from the truth.

    Anyway: I don't want anyone to represent me (because I'm quite capable of representing myself) and I don't want to represent others (because they're also quite capable of representing themselves).

    Maybe if we had direct democracy more (young) people might feel the need to represent themselves by voting.

  • Comment number 19.

    4. At 12:33pm on 03 Mar 2010, Mysturji wrote:
    //Yes I'm registered to vote.
    If you have the right to vote, use it!
    There may not be anyone to vote FOR, but there is always someone to vote AGAINST.

    If in doubt, vote against.

    If you don't vote, you will have absolutely no right to complain when the next government turns out to be just as bad as the current one.//

    Yeh, because this analysis is logical isn't it?

    A little like being confronted by a gang of assorted brutish thugs in the street, each armed with a variety of 'pointy' weapons, who proceed to offer you a 'vote' on which member of the gang is going to beat you senseless then mug you for all your material possessions.

    Then being told by some bystander that because you refused to 'vote' or 'choose' your destroyer you have no right to complain about being beaten senseless and robbed - you have no recourse to demand justice from society and no legal representation! Brilliant logic - Oh so rational!

  • Comment number 20.

    I've voted in every election I could, until now. I'm not going to bother now, there's little point. All the main parties look & sound the same, and have no idea how to represent those who elect them.

  • Comment number 21.

    Yes I am registered to vote. I think it's important to vote not necessarily to bring a party in but perhaps to keep one out.

    If you haven't registered to vote, or are refusing to do so, then you can't really complain about the current political climate.

  • Comment number 22.

    I refuse to vote and have many good reasons why. I strongly feel that I have been ignored by every political party. I am a 30 year old, single, childless, English speaking, law abiding, tax paying, educated female. I felt I have been punished for doing what I believe are the right things. Yet, I constantly see people being rewarded for doing the wrong things - e.g people who never work who keep having children to get more benefits. These people are clearly better off than me and that is wrong. This is one example why I will not vote.

  • Comment number 23.

    I don't think the best way to encourage the country's youth to vote is to tell them to 'get off their backsides' and 'take responsibility'. I am registered to vote, and have voted in the Scottish elections, but have never voted in a General Election before. I don't know if I will. It's not a case of lazyness, or refusing to take responsibility. I do not want to vote for the Conservatives or for Labour and to be honest, in the first past the post system, any other vote is essentially meaningless. Perhaps a more representative system would encourage more people to vote? It would encourage me.

  • Comment number 24.

    The comment, "You can't complain if you don't vote" is fatuous and incorrect. Patently people can complain if they don't vote and not voting is the only option for people that have no one who represents them. Why do the "Can't complain"s always bang on about this? What if you vote Lib Dem and they don't get in. Can you complain about the Tory or Labour government then or is it your fault for not voting for the winning party?

    Get off your high horses, please, it's still a "wasted" vote if there's no candidate or party to represent you. Why should I have to weigh up the least worst party and put my X against them? I'm hoping for a 25% or less turnout. No choice = no mandate.

  • Comment number 25.

    I am not surprised.

    Our youth aren’t idiots and it is very clear that they can see through the charade they call a democratic political system.

    I am 58 and became disenfranchised with the system at least two decades ago when I realised that the system is more about party politics and party survival than actually doing what is right for the country.

    I also realised that with the party Whip system once I put my X on my voting form I had no further say in the next five years as my career MP was to afraid of their own future to fight any cause no matter how just, so those MP’s who stand up and fight will get my vote.

    As for MP’s morals as raised by many on this forum, yes totally agree they are no better than the benefit cheats and other petty criminals we read about.

    As for CaptainJameson comments of get of your backside and get involved then I can only assume that the member is secure in their life and have not just left School / University wondering how they are going to get a job and survive for the next 70 years.

    I also wonder what they mean, when they say get involved. Do they mean join a political party and propagate this farce or what?

    The one advice I do have is you must use your vote. As Mysturji quite rightly points out, there may not be someone to vote for but there is someone to vote against. Vote for a minor candidate and certainly don’t spoil your paper because that’s not counted either and your voice will not be heard.


    Of course the politicians solution will be to make it compulsory to vote rather engage the public and let them buy into the future of this once great nation. Give the power back to the people and let them decide their own future.

  • Comment number 26.

    My advise, for what its worth - Ignore them all and maybe they will just give up and go away! I really do not understand, given all the evidence, why the public still grasp on to the false belief that we actually live in any kind of democracy! The folk running the show don't care about any of us, we are just a minor irritant to their perverse aspirations! They just want us all to shut up - put up and leave them to amass their fortunes,and milk the system for all it worth, while they continue with their 'social engineering project' to reduce us all to babbling irrational idiots who accept any scrap they throw in our direction (with APR attached).

    Their vision of the future is a Shangrila of golden temples for them, while the rest of us all scrabble around in the gutters trying to avoid death and destitution! Vote for it if you want, but I can think of an alternative future - can you?

  • Comment number 27.

    I have actually registered to vote for the first time since 1997 becuase I actually have a decent MP in the constituency I've moved to since the last election. He's a local fellow, not a career politician and is defending a very slim majority from an out of town Tory who is only running here because they think it's an easy win and it's her "thank-you" for being a party member since the age of 11 and for being the daughter of a peer.

  • Comment number 28.

    I'm registered and will be voting for a local MP not for any particular party leader. Remember our votes are for constituency representatives so don't worry what goes on beyond that. Just take an interest in local politics and pressure your MP to represent you effectively in parliament.

  • Comment number 29.

    Sure, anyone is entitled not to vote if they don't want to.
    But anyone who doesn't vote forfeits their right to grumble - why should the rest of us listen to any complaints about anything that government, local authorities, or opposition parties do or don't do, from people who can't even be bothered to try to influence their policies?

  • Comment number 30.

    I'm registered and have been for many years. I usually vote, too.

    Before an election, I read the stuff that's put through the door, then the Saturday before polling day I go to the town centre and talk to those candidates who have made the effort to turn out. I quiz them on the views they hold on issues that I think are important, and I'm looking for some evidence of thought rather than quoting the party line on the issue in question (even if they do happen to believe in the party line, it soon becomes obvious who believes in what he is saying and who does not!).

    But one hapless candidate lost my vote by insulting my dog!

    Poor hound took objection to his Sunday nap being disturbed by her going around in a car with a loudhailer on top, and started barking. So, over the loudhailer, she announced that my dog supported t'other party.

  • Comment number 31.

    The problem is that most young people don't realise that there will never be one poltical party that meets ALL of their needs ALL of the time.
    Therefore you have to go with "who you think will best run the country or is most in tune with your interests?".

    Too many young people seem to think that Politicians should "just know" what they want of them, but then never make the time to engage with their MP.

    If you don't speak up you'll never be heard. If you don't try to get your views, opinions or concerns about where you live or the country as a whole across to your MP then you can't expect anyone to do anything to help you.

    Mind you, there is quite a large feeling of powerlessness. Our generation saw the tail end of 'That Thatcher woman' and then the shambles that took over, then have seen the systematic media obliteration of the Labour party. How are we meant to trust either viable side?

    Politicians are too far removed from "real life", young people (generally) can't be bothered to engage with thier MPs.

  • Comment number 32.

    I agree with the comments that all the Parties are similarly truth benders and promise makers before a GE and will change for the worse afterwards. However, my personal opinion is that we have had 12 yrs of Labour and their record over this period is not good, so I will vote for someone else just for a change if nothing else. No other party can do any worse than NuNuLabour. Poor gap, bigger. Education, dumbed down. Immigration used as a political tool (I'll never forgive them for that) and never mind Mr Ashcroft's non-dom status, Labour has at least 10 donors in a similar position but are keeping it quiet, understandably.

    If you vote in a marginal seat then look out for massive, nay GInormous tax rises if GB gets back in. Watch the spots change then. Get out & vote, just to make sure that he doesn't.

  • Comment number 33.

    The sooner there is restricted access to the electoral register, the sooner more people will feel happy having their whereabouts shown upon it's pages. Apart from criminals there are a whole array of people who don't want their details open to the world, victims of domestic violence easily springs to mind, along with so many others. Because any tom, dick or harry can get to look at the register a lot of people deliberately disenfranchise themselves for safety's sake, or just for the want of privacy. Can't blame them, not when a whole raft of cold calling comes off the back of the electoral register, just as a for instance.

    Yes, i am registered to vote, my vote is more important to me than my anonimity.

  • Comment number 34.

    Too right I have registered to vote, women died to give me that right. We all need to get off of our backsides to vote, especially if we want the current government out on their ear & to dilute the number of me, me me politicians in westminster. If more of us voted for parties other than the 'big 3' the government might actually get the message the electorate is fed up of being stolen from & taken for mugs.

    If you don't vote you really have no right to complain because you couldn't even be bothered to go out on that 1 day to put a cross on a piece of paper. This is not the time for conscientious objections, it's the time to show how we feel about the current encumbants of westminster.

  • Comment number 35.

    People who don't exercise their civic duty to vote relinquish all their rights to complain about what the Government does or doesn't do. I welcome the day when it will be illegal not to vote. After all, voting only takes a few minutes out of your daily life once or twice every five or so years.

  • Comment number 36.

    Yes, and I can't wait to rid us of this Labour scum
    Did you see Harmans performance on PMQ? Quiet appalling.

  • Comment number 37.

    11. At 12:46pm on 03 Mar 2010, Andrew Lye wrote:
    "If you don't vote, you can't complain.
    That's their choice.
    I first had the vote at the 1979 General Election and have voted in every General, Euro, County, District, Town and Parish (Community in Wales) election, plus any by-elections.
    I am proud to vote and have my say!"

    And how did you find that experience? Are you happy with your choices? Did anyone you voted for ever do anything positive to make your world 'better'? Has your world become the utopian dream they all offer? Are your taxes any less? Are public services any better? DO you feel happy with the education system that leaves most of the population in a fog of irrational mysticism? Or a 'Welfare system' which provides billions £ to the wealthy while maintaining millions in poverty destitution and despair? Does your life feel complete for your engagement in a political charade? How does it feel to have given your consent to your own enslavement and the enslavement of your fellow beings?
    How's that mortgage going? Are you happy working for debt payments? Is your home stuffed full of worthless trinkets produced by the slaves of Asia, who definitely did not get to vote for their kind of existence? Do you think the mystics of the Doctrine of Sacrifice will deliver improvements, your personal heaven in your life time or maybe you are holding out in hope they will improve the life of your children or grandchildren? If I told you I loved you would you vote for me, while I rob you of the achievements of living and give you worthless substitutes for living? Would you trust me with your life if I convinced you meaningful existence merely consists of the avoidance of death?

    No I will not vote for a prison which ever flavour is offered!

  • Comment number 38.

    Mmm, who shall i vote for? The liars on the left or the liars on the right?

    I shall probably spoil my ballot paper this year as democracy in this country has become a farce. Every party holds the electorate in contempt and treat us all like morons, blatantly lying and spinning half truths and presenting selective statistics.

    How can anyone form a balance view on who should be running the country on that basis?

  • Comment number 39.

    The right to vote is the most powerful weapon the general public have.

    To all of you who say you will not be voting because there is no-one to vote for, you are quite correct. However, go to the ballot box and write 'None of the above' on the voting slip. Yes it's a spoiled paper, but enough people do it - they (those in power) might just get the message.

  • Comment number 40.

    Yes . . . err, I think.

    I don't much care if I haven't registered, since I'll be in Canada for most of the next government's term anyway.

  • Comment number 41.

    I made sure both my children and my wife appear alongside me at our address, on the electoral register. I hope that they will all vote. I have explained to them that, while we still have the right to vote, we must use our vote to influence the way our country's going. If we don't vote then we are abdicating our responsibilities as citizens. If we don't vote then we deserve who is returned to lead us. If we don't vote we have no voice to be heard.
    Personally, I will vote in this election. I think I may well use my vote tactically, and vote against rather than for. I will certainly vote against Labour, although, our present MP is Labour and is a good person. I don't want Labour in power because of what they intend doing in the next parliament and because of what they have already done in the previous parliaments. But I also have had no contact from our prospective Conservative, Liberal, or any other party, candidate to win me over. In fact it seems as if nobody cares how I vote, so all three might lose my potential vote for them.

  • Comment number 42.

    I am not entirely sure what to do to be honest.

    I am concerned about our economy, our continued participation in the farce that is Europe, immigration, crime and punishment but most worryingly of all is the frightening rise of political Islam in this country.

    I suspect therefore that the only avenue open to me is to vote for the BNP. I am not a fan, but i firmly believe they are the only political party who remotely tell it like it is. having read their manifesto, it seems they are the only party with proactive approaches to dealing with the various issues that concern me.

    What else am I to do?


  • Comment number 43.

    The voting system needs an overhaul. My local Labour MP has done an excellent job for years, and I think he should remain MP. I can't, however, vote for him without also endorsing Labour for national Government, which I do not wish to do.
    A dilemma I must think about.

    It is a shame that people used the summer's local elections to make a national point. Although labour have failed nationally, I think locally they do a very good job but they lost the local majority during the summer and since then things have gone rapidly downhill.

  • Comment number 44.

    I'll never vote,it's the system that needs changing not the party in power.
    A system that is based on corporate/capital/privilege dictatorship will never get my vote.
    We need a new economical system ! Any ideas ?

  • Comment number 45.

    I'm 49 and have always done up until now, but now I'm not sure if I'll bother this time, from what I have seen over the past year or so has enforced my view that the whole politicle system here is so bent it won't make any difference if no one bothered. anyway we don't have any real choice do we other than the same old red or blue one, and they are both the same in reality, the first past the post system is designed not to allow any real chance of democracy to get a toe hold here.

  • Comment number 46.

    I hope I am... I've had trouble in the past since I'm signed up for the postal vote. I'm usually away from my permanent residence during weekdays so can't vote on the day. However, last time my postal vote application wasn't successful since it was "too late" (even though it was sent several weeks in advance). Instead I had to make a special 2-hour journey on the election day in order to vote. At the end of it all my vote didn't make any difference since the party I voted for didn't get in.

    I can see why some people are put off voting. Too much bureaucracy and at the end of the day it's a meaningless effort. At least we don't have the dodgy American system with automated counting machines though.

  • Comment number 47.

    I have always voted and will always vote, but I would prefer to vote for a Tru Labour instead of Nu Labour.

  • Comment number 48.

    I'm 29 and have been voting since I was 18.

    I'm not surprised that many young voters are being put off; almost every other week we receive a leaflet from the Camden Lib Dems which is full of defamation against the other parties. They even declare that it's not worth voting for the Tories in this borough as they 'have no chance of winning here'. How's that for democracy?!

  • Comment number 49.

    "I firmly believe that if you vote, you have no right to complain. I know some people like to twist that around and say, "If you don't vote, you have no right to complain." But where's the logic in that? Think it through: If you vote, and you elect dishonest, incompetent politicians, and you screw things up, then you're responsible for what they've done. You voted them in. You caused the problem. You have no right to complain.
    I, on the other hand, who did not vote—who, in fact, did not even leave the house on Election Day—am in no way responsible for what these politicians have done and have every right to complain about the mess you created. Which I had nothing to do with." - George Carlin

  • Comment number 50.

    Apathy and lack of traditional right-wing commitment from the Conservatives has lead to a plethora of right-wing splinter groups who will take voters away from the Conservatives. This could easily lead to a majority of pro-right-wing voters ending up with a left-wing government.

    I'll certainly be voting to stop that. The last 13 years have seen us descending into ever-deeper 'political correctness' misery.

  • Comment number 51.

    @S Anderson #23

    "I do not want to vote for the Conservatives or for Labour and to be honest, in the first past the post system, any other vote is essentially meaningless. Perhaps a more representative system would encourage more people to vote? It would encourage me."

    Have you ever heard of the Liberal Democrats and proportional representation?

  • Comment number 52.

    "The Electoral Commission claims more than 3.5m people may not be registered, while its research indicates that 56% of 17-25 year olds are not on the electoral roll."

    At £1000 fine for not registering thats 3.5Billion that this goverment is failing to recover in fines. We need every penny we can get at the moment so start fining.

    Just because you are registored does not mean you have to vote but you are leagally required to register!

  • Comment number 53.

    Are you a first time voter?
    Nope

    Have you registered to vote?
    Definitely

    What should the political parties do to engage with the electorate?
    Talk to them, understand their frustrations and wants. Most of all, LISTEN!

    What would get you out to vote?
    The thought of another Labour government further ruining the UK and smarming up to the EU. If you don't vote or purposely spoil your vote, you have no right to criticise the government you allowed in by such actions.

  • Comment number 54.

    I don't blame young people for not even registering to vote, let alone going out and actually voting. Democracy is in such an absolutely shambolic state right now I don't blame anyone who chooses not to defile themselves by participating in it.

  • Comment number 55.

    I have been registered to vote and use it, for many years now, and as far as I am concerned if you do not use your vote, you do not deserve to have a say on anything.

    To say that there is no-one to vote for, or to say that you are sick of the present bunch of politicians, is not a reason to get off your backsides, but a lame excuse. Voting is the only way to change things.

    I don't care who anyone votes for, after all there are plenty of candidates to choose from (whether from one of the major parties or an independant etc), but please do not waste the facility that you have been given as a right.

    People before us have had to fight (and die) for the very right to vote, and yet many of you are prepared to throw it away!

    Come on BBC why can't you run a TV/Radio program to encourage these youngsters to register and then vote when the time comes.

  • Comment number 56.

    4. At 12:33pm on 03 Mar 2010, Mysturji wrote:
    "Yes I'm registered to vote.
    If you have the right to vote, use it!
    There may not be anyone to vote FOR, but there is always someone to vote AGAINST.

    If in doubt, vote against.

    If you don't vote, you will have absolutely no right to complain when the next government turns out to be just as bad as the current one."

    At 1:13pm on 03 Mar 2010, The Ghosts of John Galt wrote:
    "Yeh, because this analysis is logical isn't it?

    A little like being confronted by a gang of assorted brutish thugs in the street, each armed with a variety of 'pointy' weapons, who proceed to offer you a 'vote' on which member of the gang is going to beat you senseless then mug you for all your material possessions.

    Then being told by some bystander that because you refused to 'vote' or 'choose' your destroyer you have no right to complain about being beaten senseless and robbed - you have no recourse to demand justice from society and no legal representation! Brilliant logic - Oh so rational!"

    The whooshing sound you heard was the point going over your head. Following your analogy, those brutish thugs exist regardless. Would you rather the one that hits you with a feather duster or the one who hits you with a chainsaw? Either way, one of them will do it. the same goes with voting. Despite spoiling papers, refusing to vote or (the pointless) "none of the above" people seem to insist on, a party will still get into power all the same.

  • Comment number 57.

    I pay Council Tax, therefore 'on the system' and was threatened by local authority, with fines and prosecution, to fill in and return electoral register.

    Am I missing something here? Do I have the right not to be on electoral register?

    PLEASE HELP? Advise me why so many people are NOT required to register to vote AND WHY NOT?



  • Comment number 58.


    31. At 1:35pm on 03 Mar 2010, FunBunny wrote:

    Too many young people seem to think that Politicians should "just know" what they want of them, but then never make the time to engage with their MP.

    Politicians are too far removed from "real life", young people (generally) can't be bothered to engage with thier MPs.

    i cant believe this comment. how do you expect young people busy struggling to find jobs that are no longer in full time education gain access to MP's?.
    im yet to see any sort of MPs walking the streets. interacting with the people whose vote they should be trying to secure.
    Why dont the local MP's make school visits?. Actually connect with the youth of today and educate them. Then when 16 comes and they leave school. once they have the ability to vote at 18 they will understand how the system works, and how they can best use their vote!.
    Any party that can tackle the FARCE of illegal immigration and the benefit system being dished out to those who do not deserve it will atleast get me to "take note" of their policies.

  • Comment number 59.

    Of course - my attitude is don't vote, don't complain.

    Needless to say, the winning party each election didn't have my vote but that's another issue.

  • Comment number 60.

    I'm curious though - just how anonomyous is our votes?

    After all the ballots are numbered with the same number as the register?

  • Comment number 61.

    I have registered to vote for the first time, previously i have never seen the point as the vast majority of voters only vote on the party they have always voted for. Very few read manifesto's or listen to debate and will defend their parties every decision even if it is crazy.

    I am registered this time more as a vote against the current government who I believe have brought about a raft of bad decisions and policies and are hopefully leaving for a party to come in and take a more hard edged approach. I dont believe the Conservatives are the best party to lead us but I do feel that they are the only chance of getting rid of Labour.

    To engage the younger generation they should make the manifesto's legally binding. The policies set out will always come with a sting in the tail e.g. 100,000 extra seats on train sounds good but it will come with the increase in fare's to bring them to 6 times the cost of driving from the mere 5 times they currently are.

    There is no trust in politics since labour came into power. There was little there before, but at least we believed some of the other politicians lies.

  • Comment number 62.

    Yes i will vote always have and always will , local general . i think it should be compulsary to vote, we need a box marked "non of the above" then at least they will know how many dissatisfied people there are .

  • Comment number 63.

    What I like to do at election time - is take a large waste paper bin, and place pieces of different coloured sticky back paper in the bin (random numbers of paper squares) in the following colours - Red, Yellow, Green, Blue, Brown) Then I proceed with the difficult task of gathering together all the glossy manifesto's produced by each political party. Once, I have achieved this complex task I throw all the collected manifestos in the same bin and proceed to shake the contents with vigour! Then I take a straw poll among my friends, relatives and random people in the street to determine the most popular colour from the list above. Once the statistics are correlated, cross referenced, and amended for seasonal variations, I am now ready to take the manifestos out of the bin. Carefully placing these valuable documents over the coffee table, I am now confident in choosing which candidate I shall allow the privilege of shafting me for five years. The chosen process is fairly simple; count the number of sticky backed pieces of paper which have attached themselves to the assorted manifestos, making a note of the above listed colours! The manifesto with the majority of a single colour wins! And the candidate hiding behind the lies of that manifesto gets the right to rip me off for the next five years! Of course the straw poll is completely irrelevant to the exercise and pointless because public opinion does not count, but at least those 'engaged' in the political process get to feel important for a day or two! Don't you love your democracy folks?

  • Comment number 64.

    Well, great to see another (new and unimproved) HYS comments page under-staffed by the BBC Trust's anonymous gods?

    Back to the point - why aren't all UK citizens registered to vote? If you are not registered to vote then you are not a UK citizen?

    If you are a UK citizen then you must be registered. If you choose not to vote, then that's your freedom to do so.

  • Comment number 65.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 66.

    60. At 2:41pm on 03 Mar 2010, Jane wrote:
    "I'm curious though - just how anonomyous is our votes? After all the ballots are numbered with the same number as the register?"

    Very true. 'Anonymous voting' yet they note your number and the ballot paper you voted on. Hmmm...

  • Comment number 67.

    "I have allways voted its every one duty to do like wise, no vote no say Thats why countless people across the world fought and die for? the people who dont vote for any not sound reason should be fined £1000, min and the money given to overseas' aid or charity

  • Comment number 68.

    To all of those "Don't vote, don't complain" people - YOU are the ones responsible for the dreadful politicians running this country by continuing to endorse a system that lets those float to the top and offers us no other choice. The none-voters are the only ones not at least partially responsible for this mess. Voting certainly isn't going to bring the changes needed because it's just letting the gravy train continue. The only possible incentive for turning out to vote is that not doing so will make it easier for the even less appealing fringe parties to get a bit of a say.

  • Comment number 69.

    I was pleased last May to hold a tutorial on a Thursday and have a bunch of fairly non-political sixth form students literally abuzz with the thought that they could cast their very first votes in the local council elections that day!

    If you know any young people who are eligible to vote, try and get them excited about the prospect.

    Even if you feel it's six of one and half-a-dozen of the other, at least you get to choose the pretty colour of rosette!

  • Comment number 70.

    #57 - "I pay Council Tax, therefore 'on the system' and was threatened by local authority, with fines and prosecution, to fill in and return electoral register.

    Am I missing something here? Do I have the right not to be on electoral register?"

    As far as I'm concerned you certainly have the right not to be - there's no good argument for anyone having any right to know the slightest thing about you, including your existance, as long as you're not getting in the way of anyone else. However, as far as I'm aware the law doesn't let you exercise that right (and that's probably the same throughout the world).

  • Comment number 71.

    For all those people that say "if you don't vote then don't complain" what a silly thing to say. Everyone has the right to voice there opinion.

    That's exactly the same as complaining about a product which you purchased that was faulty but you have not decided in it's ingredients or funded it's development.

    I have never voted and for the first time, I will this year and it won't be labour and as for my local MP, he has my full support.

  • Comment number 72.

    Can you vote if you are not a legal UK resident?

    Yes you can!

    Why? Because the current system takes no account of residence in UK. Therefore, families and relatives living abroad, yet married to UK residents can vote without being part of UK life or UK politics?!

  • Comment number 73.

    #51. At 2:16pm on 03 Mar 2010, take_action wrote:

    "Have you ever heard of the Liberal Democrats and proportional representation?"

    That's the main reason I’ll probably vote Lib Dem, we're long overdue for proportional representation (or a more accurate voting system) IMV.

  • Comment number 74.

    Nope, it's all false. Fake leaders who are told how to dress, act and behave. It's all theater really. It makes me cringe just watching them all - the complete and utter fakery is spine shuddering.

    Let's face it, the world is run by people you don't see. The wealthy elite, bent commissioners, dodgy hacks, the bullies, the thugs. These are who are in charge, even if some naive politicians and most gullible people think differently.

    They only make out that voting is important to stop people realising the truth and scaring the people into panic, rioting, and utter chaos - which would threaten their wealth and comfortable lavish life-styles. No government has done anything for me - I've had to do all the work in my life to survive, they just take, take, take - and then end up living in their little acreages in deepest darkest Surrey where no one will ever find them once they've done their slatternly and venal deeds in parliament.

    I washed my hands of the system, as I realise it to be, a long time ago. Not once have I taken a penny from it, but they keep coming after me for the hard hours I have put into making a few pence.

    They sold our industries, made us become reliant on them even more. They have allowed the rich elite to take everything we used to make for ourselves. They have taken important skills away form our children's education, such as making things; woodwork, metal work, craft, design, arable farming. Now we become reliant on others - our resulting deficiency has made us all drones. Thinking about it, I blame us, the 'conditioned people' for not standing up to these devils who sold us off to the elites.

    Perhaps we could change this one day peacefully, and reclaim our industries and land for growing our own food crops.

  • Comment number 75.

    Voting in a general election should be compulsary, a responsibility of living in a liberal democracy. It's a huge problem that the three main parties range from weak to useless, but there are plenty of smaller parties you could vote for.
    Voter apathy only gives rise to pond scum like the BNP, so not voting at all is perhaps akin to cutting your nose off to spite your face.

  • Comment number 76.

    Hello, I think that the reason young voters are not registered to vote is because they do not care about their vote. The reason for this I think is simple, I am a 26 year old male who was educated at University and was brought up in what would generally be accepted as a middle class family. Yet despite my best efforts and not without trying I feel that I cannot relate to politics in this country at all.

    I very much care about my vote, but what I am voting for is not always completely clear. Basic politics, i.e left wing, right wing, which parties deviate to which side is not lost on me, but I would say it is not always completely clear.

    As a result, I think anybody of a similar social or intellectual stature as myself (I would consider myself average in both) does not understand politics enough to firstly care enough to vote or secondly understand the different reasons and options they have when voting. How can you make a judgement based on something that you don't understand? Surely nobody would be stupid enough to do that?

    I am sure I speak for many people with these views and think that this country needs a political revolution. It needs a younger, dynamic figure who can keep politics simple and be honest, instead of refusing to answer Andrew Marrs' questions directly or criticising the oppositions policies (because it is easy to do so) without giving a credible account of your own policy. It seems that much of politicians time and effort goes into thwarting the opposition rather than focusing on what they should be, which putting together a solid, genuine plan to help this country out of recession.

    I don't care about some anonymous MP's expenses claim for his moat, yes it annoys me but I would rather see the opposition party in this case not trying to score pointless political points but putting their efforts into trying to sort this 'Great' country out!

    Everything else seems to move with the times, sport, music, even cooking has Jamie Oliver who is slightly cool, but politics doesn't! All I see is point scoring and people heckling each other in the House of Lords or Commons like they are at a Rugby match.

    In my opinion this country needs to be educated on politics so that they can make informed, solid decisions on their own future when voting instead of either not voting or basing their decision on a prejudice of political parties that has been around decades. Labour look after the poor, Conservative after the rich. Both parties appear to sit in the middle with policies these days, no party particularly different from the other.

    So political parties if you read this, stop with the pointless point scoring and pathetic social networking (twitter). Try to help your country understand politics and the political process, and what your party stands for. Come up with something new, be honest and you will gain far more from these than any face saving exercise or social networking. We all make mistakes, the best of us acknowledge that and try to get better!

    RANT OVER!

  • Comment number 77.

    Those people who are talking about not voting or deliberately spoiling their ballot papers.

    Aren't you rather assuming that doing so is going to send the message that you are dissatisfied with the current political system or whatever it is you’re protesting against? I can see the authorities either ignoring the message or simply not receiving it. Surely it's better to instead of writing "none of the above" to write a little message of some sort say "this ballot has been deliberately spoilt in protest of ......" and make sure they get the message, if you see what I mean. Same applies to those not voting at all.

    I seem to remember a lot of other people doing this at the last election and the message as far as I can see has been deliberately ignored or simply wasn't received.

    I don’t personally agree with what you’re doing but I can certainly understand why you’re doing it.

  • Comment number 78.

    I have always voted since i was 18, it is a disgrace not to, you may not be able to agree with any party on all issues be strange is you did, but by not voting you are ignorant of the freedom you have to do so and besmirching the memories of many of our past generations who fought to give us the right .
    Dangerous to let go of this right.

  • Comment number 79.

    71. At 3:11pm on 03 Mar 2010, Craig Grant wrote:

    "For all those people that say "if you don't vote then don't complain" what a silly thing to say. Everyone has the right to voice there opinion.

    That's exactly the same as complaining about a product which you purchased that was faulty but you have not decided in it's ingredients or funded it's development."

    No it isn't, Craig. The analogy is that voting would be the equivalent of buying the product. Anyway, it's a poor analogy.

    A better analogy would be that you are in a meeting that decides which product is going to be bought by your company. You weigh up the pros and cons of the products available and take a vote, with the highest number of votes deciding which product is going to be bought. Abstaining or saying that you don't like any of them doesn't stop the vote taking place or the winning product being bought.

    After all this, complaining that you don't like the product is ridiculous since you decided to opt of voting for another product.

    The whole point is that product or political party, one of them will get in regardless. Exercise your choice or be condemned by other people's decisions. One vote *can* make a difference.

  • Comment number 80.

    i have been a voter ever since i was 18 and will always vote in any election.

    if you dont vote you dont have the right to complain what gov you get.

    and to thoes who say they dont have time OMG there are 16 hours to vote so to make change vote.

    even a spoilt ballot paper is counted.

  • Comment number 81.

    Alas, no. I'm not allowed, as I've lived outside the UK for too long to qualify. Pity, but even if I can't vote, it won't prevent me from passing comments, good or bad, about whatever government takes over next session.

  • Comment number 82.

    IT'S COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE AND DISGRACEFUL NOT TO VOTE IN A DEMOCRACY THAT ANCESTORS DIED FOR.

    Just take a quick look at the English Civil War; or laws that excluded votes for women AND the average working man/boy sent to their death during WW1?

    I'm no expert, but all previous and recent British/European and British Military War History tells me that buying a poppy is good, but not good enough.

    If you don't vote, you fail the fallen who died, and still die in the name of democracy.

  • Comment number 83.

    Vote, the vote was not given, it had to be fought for. Women didn't get the vote until 1924,by a Labour government. We did not get universal suffferage(one person one vote)until 1948, when the right of Oxbridge Dons to elect two MPs was removed.
    So Vote.

  • Comment number 84.

    If I hear one more person trot out 'if you don't vote you can't complain' I think I am going to scream....
    I have never voted because I disagree with the electoral system, and I don't want any of 'em to represent me. As I have never voted I therefore cannot be held responsible ever for who gets in, and I therefore have the perfect right to complain - in fact I have more right to do so than someone who did vote!

  • Comment number 85.

    Yes, I'm registered to vote.

    However, I have difficulty getting out to vote, due to health issues, and as such I am registered for postal voting.

    Unfortunately, last general election, the postal voting pack came too late to be able to return it with a vote in time for the deadline. Given that labour hasn't announced a date, with less than 2 months allowed for them to hold an election. I'm sure they're going to cheat us people with mobility issues out of our vote again.

  • Comment number 86.

    56. At 2:33pm on 03 Mar 2010, Sue Denim wrote:
    4. At 12:33pm on 03 Mar 2010, Mysturji wrote:
    "Yes I'm registered to vote.
    If you have the right to vote, use it!
    There may not be anyone to vote FOR, but there is always someone to vote AGAINST.

    If in doubt, vote against.

    If you don't vote, you will have absolutely no right to complain when the next government turns out to be just as bad as the current one."

    At 1:13pm on 03 Mar 2010, The Ghosts of John Galt wrote:
    "Yeh, because this analysis is logical isn't it?

    A little like being confronted by a gang of assorted brutish thugs in the street, each armed with a variety of 'pointy' weapons, who proceed to offer you a 'vote' on which member of the gang is going to beat you senseless then mug you for all your material possessions.

    Then being told by some bystander that because you refused to 'vote' or 'choose' your destroyer you have no right to complain about being beaten senseless and robbed - you have no recourse to demand justice from society and no legal representation! Brilliant logic - Oh so rational!"

    "The whooshing sound you heard was the point going over your head. Following your analogy, those brutish thugs exist regardless. Would you rather the one that hits you with a feather duster or the one who hits you with a chainsaw? Either way, one of them will do it. the same goes with voting. Despite spoiling papers, refusing to vote or (the pointless) "none of the above" people seem to insist on, a party will still get into power all the same."

    NO - the point is none of the political parties have feather dusters - just assorted knuckle dusters, knives and clubs! Why is it so difficult to grasp - ALL political party's are merely different gangs of brutish thugs employee by the same Global elites and corporate fascists to keep you lot deluded, quiet and happy in your self induced mental stupor, while they rob and abuse you! It really is not rocket science is it?

    And of course a 'party' will still get to play in Westminster if you don't vote - that's not the point either - The whole point is that by voting you are giving your personal endorsement and consent to the system which has the sole purpose of enslaving you - And the electorate foolishly think they have freedom because they get to choose which flavour of slave master is in control! If it were not so serious it would be hilarious!

  • Comment number 87.

    And don't you wonder why at least 3.5million citizens do not bother voting? Could it possibly be because the establishment has effectively disenfranchised all the 'trouble makers'(traditionally the young radicals/idealist/rebel who might 'rock the boat' a little) form their political process! Yoof Culcha, fashion and de education producing a generation of people who will never participate in any political thought - never mind voting! - a very strange 'change' to the growing up experience of most previous generations! Where are the rebels we ask?

  • Comment number 88.

    Not voting sadly achieves nothing. Over 70% of the electorate did NOT vote for the current government; so those who abstained from voting have no grounds to complain.

    If none of the candidates appeal (and remember you are voting for your local representative not the future Prime Minister), do not abstain. Go to the polling station, register, spoil your vote paper and put it in the ballot. Spoilt papers have to be counted and recorded.

    Can you imagine the impact of an election where over 50% of the voting papers were recorded as spoilt? That would send a very strong signal to the politicians.

    Tony Rendall

  • Comment number 89.

    Given the poor behaviour of so many elected politicians is it really suprising that so many young people are reluctant to vote.

    Politicians are quick to say they haven't broken the law but seem to have lost their moral compasss when deciding between whats right and wrong

  • Comment number 90.

    The right to choose not to register is just as important as the right to register.

    Instead of activly chasing people who have little interest to vote, perhaps there should be reasons for young people to want to vote. in the high teens someone who has been egged on to vote (even if not seggested to how to vote) will not make the clear judgement someone of the same age who has felt it important to do it off their own backs.

    The only reason I can think why we are partitioned off into groups and 'encouraged' to vote is because certain groups tend to vote a particular way. Maybee its the sceptic in me but I can't help thinking of the phrase 'you get more right wing as you get older'. Is that why there is a push on the young?

  • Comment number 91.

    I have no confidence in any of the parties or the British 'democratic' system anymore. It all seems built to serve a different era and I see politicians just becoming increasingly irrelevant to the average persons life - by their own doing.

    If we had the option to strike a no confidence vote I think things would be somewhat different.

  • Comment number 92.

    To all those saying "Well you can't complain... " you're wrong. We can, we're not listened to and therefore voting, although I'm registered to, is a pointless exercise for me. It's not that I can't find a party to make peace with - I'm fully aware that no single party will represent my views completely, thanks to those with no idea how patronising they are - rather that I cannot find a single party who have a platform or manifesto that I can vote for! Seriously!

    Here's some questions:

    Who will extract our troops from Afghanistan?

    Who will improve the economy to the point where I don't have to look overseas for work?

    Who will curtail the massive overspend in public sector and deliver some visible, measureable and sustainable improvements?

    You know why I don't know the answers to these? Because not one of the parties with a chance of effecting change will answer them to my satisfaction. All they do in the last two instances is say, "ME! ME! ME!" and then do nothing to support it with, y'know, what's the word... ideas? As to the first, all parties seem content with continuing on an illegal war and sacrificing our men and women whilst leaking allegations of Bullying to the press. Vote for them? I wouldn't spit on them.

  • Comment number 93.

    NEVER, EVER FORGET THOSE men, women and children WHO FOUGHT AND DIED, throughout UK history, TO GIVE YOU AND ME, THE GREAT UNWASHED (according to some politicians), the VOTE?

    So, what is the VOTE exactly?

    V = vote for what you believe is right for Britain.
    O = opportunity to object to those who hate Britain.
    T = tenacity to ensure democracy by the majority of Britains.
    E = enable those who wish Britain to be Britain and not ruled by EU.

    The unelected EU Commission costing Britain £40million per day is totally undemocratic for Britain?

  • Comment number 94.

    I am an intelligent, free thinking adult. Of course I will vote. However I do not go blindly to the polling booth. I read the party manifestos of all major parties and then make my mind up who would best serve this country.

    Because of this I feel at liberty to rant on HYS about how the politicians act on our behalf.

    It is everyone's duty to help select who governs us.

  • Comment number 95.

    79. At 3:38pm on 03 Mar 2010, Sue Denim wrote:

    ///No it isn't, Craig. The analogy is that voting would be the equivalent of buying the product. Anyway, it's a poor analogy.

    A better analogy would be that you are in a meeting that decides which product is going to be bought by your company. You weigh up the pros and cons of the products available and take a vote, with the highest number of votes deciding which product is going to be bought. Abstaining or saying that you don't like any of them doesn't stop the vote taking place or the winning product being bought.

    After all this, complaining that you don't like the product is ridiculous since you decided to opt of voting for another product.

    The whole point is that product or political party, one of them will get in regardless. Exercise your choice or be condemned by other people's decisions. One vote *can* make a difference.///

    If the analogy is related to buying a product a better version would be;

    you are in a meeting that decides which product is going to be bought by your company. You weigh up the pros and cons of the products available and take a vote, with the highest number of votes deciding which product is going to be bought.

    But each of the products is completely identical and each comes with a warning sticker which state something like the following,

    This product is highly inflammable, if used under normal situations it is likely to result in the complete destruction by fire of all your achievement of living. Under abnormal conditions it is likely to result in the destruction of the all rational minds, your ability to live and any means of creating anything of value in the area of influence of the appliance. Under no circumstances use this appliance in foreign countries because the consequences could be highly unpredictable and could cost you a large fortune. Under most conditions it is recommended that the power source is never switched on and that the appliance is not activated. For safety reasons we would advise the purchaser to never use this item.

    Now, which one you going to vote for?

  • Comment number 96.

    I am not a young voter so I am nturally registered to vote and I strongly believe that anybody who does not vote should not be able to claim any sort of benfits in this country including dole and the NHS. The vote for all was very hard fought for and should be very precious to all who live in the UK. It is our democracy and too many people whinge about what is going on but don't vote. Our services are fighting in Afghanistan to try to give them a vote so everybody should make it count here.

  • Comment number 97.

    I'm a first time voter, and I have no idea how to register!

  • Comment number 98.

    It should be Law that everyone who is eligible to vote does so. Good people have died so the we have the freedom to chose our Government good ones and bad.

  • Comment number 99.

    Two points:
    (1) Disillusion with invividual MPs and the parties of which they are members is widespread, so it's time to consider votes on issues, not on people or parties.
    (2) As a Briton resident abroad, I am disenfranchised, defeated by the bureaucratic hoops through which to jump to be able to register.

  • Comment number 100.

    Politics affects every facet of our lives. If you don't like the system change it. As an individual you may have a small voice, but as a collection of organised individuals you can certainly roar! This is your country, you have a fundamental right to have your say, so get registered and use your vote. If none of the candidates speak your language, make a political statement and spoil your paper!

 

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