This morning we awoke to news that can’t have made anyone happy; whichever way they voted. A hung parliament means another government situation that nobody actually asked for.
Political beliefs aside, the turnout yesterday was pretty awesome. Normally my generation is known for its apathy; low turnouts are expected and accepted. Yesterday the tides turned and it is estimated that 72% of 18-24 year olds turned up to vote.
To me, that statistic says politics is becoming cool. People are starting to pay attention and become aware that they can make a difference. My Facebook feed was full of people sharing their voting stories for the day. The majority were straight forward #babiesatpollingstations and #dogsatpollingstations pictures but some were not so lighthearted.
One of my old classmates had to fly back from America (where she is currently living) to hand deliver her’s and her husband’s postal votes. This was because they didn’t arrive in time to be posted back by the deadline. That’s dedication for you!
Another friend on my course at uni was refused the right to vote because of the way he filled in the form to register. He’s from Lithuania but is classed as a British citizen. There is not advice on how to fill in the form to ensure a right to vote. When he (quite rightly) recorded his nationality as ‘Lithuanian’, he lost his right to vote in the general election, but only found out on the day! Outraged, he made further enquiries and discovered he should have described himself as Lithuanian/British National. How many people would know that? I wonder how many other people have fallen foul of this admin technicality.
Then I saw that an admin error had caused thousands of voters to be turned away. Comparatively, I’d say I had an easy ride when all I had to do was turnout in the rain.
So I started asking around. I wanted to hear other people’s voting stories from yesterday, since it was clear it wasn’t plain sailing for everyone.
After all, there’s a big difference between those who don’t vote and those who can’t:
One lady gave birth on Wednesday night but still voted on Thursday and was even a proxy vote for her sister at another polling station. I’m so impressed with this dedication, someone get this poor lady a cuppa!
One friend dragged herself there with a splitting headache, stating that nothing would have stopped her.
Another fellow blogger attended with an ill baby, just to make sure that her vote counted.
My pal Kayleigh from Candyfloss & Dreams had a polling card drama. All week it’s been publicised how we didn’t need our cards to cast our vote, only for Kayleigh to find that she was asked for it when she turned up. Luckily she had it with her, but I wonder how many others left theirs behind?
Another friend got so fired up about voting she set off to her polling station at a familiar location and completely forgot the way!
One of my friends ended up in a hilariously embarrassing situation where she accidentally stood in a a funeral procession a couple of metres away from the polling station entrance, and only noticed after a minute or two when she spotted the coffin!
To me, politics has gone from something I couldn’t be bothered with when I was as self-centred teen, to something I actively follow now I’m a fully fledged adult with concerns about my own money and the future economy.
I used to be apathetic and would rather not know what was going on in the world, it didn’t feel like much applied to me at 18. Then I became a parent at 22. I was a single mother who worked hard and still lived in what was classified as ‘relative poverty’. I’d brought another life into the world and suddenly I cared about not just my own future, the future of my children.
I have another child now, I live with my fiance. We both work and I’m also a full-time student. It’s hard to know how to do right by your children, but it’s important to try. Make sure your voice is heard.
I urge you to follow politics in the future. I urge you to have your say when the opportunity arises.
What does voting mean to you?
*A quick thank you to some contributors whose opinions and stories helped me write this post: