Voter apathy is killing our democracy and our politics.

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Are you registered to vote? Are you? As the election gathers pace and the dividing lines between the parties begin to widen, it is fast becoming clear that this election is a crucial one; probably the most important for a generation and, with so much to gain and lose if the wrong party is voted in to government, to be apathetic to the outcome is criminal.

This election sees debates ranging from how to continue economic recovery, electoral reform, the long-term status of many of our public services and who is best placed to lead the nation for the next five years. This is not an election where people should squander their vote in a haze of apathy.

However, the true threat to our democratic process is exactly that: voter apathy. People are not utilising the chance to have their say in how the country is run. The system that we have needs reform but the failure of the population to support the re-evaluation of both the ways we elect our MPs and the way our House of Lords is populated smacks of sheer disinterest. It is staggering that at such a crucial point in British history, millions are standing back from forcing through the reforms that we desperately require.

Being able to vote and decide the form that your government will take is an institution that must be supported through its utilisation. I don’t accept that the problem over the past few years with MP’s expenses and people’s disenfranchisement with the three principle parties is an excuse to refuse to participate in our democracy. What makes our democracy strong is that we can make a difference. It is the refusal to vote in these elections that allows for individuals who would allow the regression of our politics, at the expense of a realisation that the current system has failed us, to gain power. It is the inability of certain people to take on their civic duty and direct the course of our nation’s history for the next few decades that could potentially ruin this country.

This latest election has born witness to the first ever televised leaders’ debate in Britain and, if the viewing figures are to be believed, they have garnered popularity across the nation with vast swathes of the populace participating in our democracy. But if people want changes, if they want reform, why are they deciding to not vote? What is the benefit of refusing to speak out? Not voting in an election on serves to undermine your own message. It does not send one to the parties involved. People complain that their vote means nothing; they are completely and utterly wrong. There is no better chance to have your voice heard within society today.

To discourage people from voting will only skew election results; it only allows vastly unpopular parties to gain power and change the course of our history for the worse. Simply by a sweep of your pen you can have a chance to be a part of our democracy, to have a say in who will hold the keys to 10 Downing Street in the aftermath of May 6th. It is vital that we, as citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, use our civic duty and vote for reform. To vote for a step in the right direction rather than a leap in to the abyss. It is baffling that at such a perilous junction in our political landscape, people are prepared to abandon all pretence of involvement and cast away their vote on a whim.

The apathy within this country is killing our politics. People no longer want to have a say in how our nation is run and seem happy to accept the problems that are inherent in the system without wanting to combat them. How can any citizen of this great nation refuse to vote? It is with no great benefit to either the country or to the cause they feel they may fight for. Refusing to vote does not and will not send a message to those elected on May 6th. It  removes the ability for us to dictate the changes we want from our government.

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