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We should make it easier for carers and the people they care for to vote

Someone posting an envelope into a post box.

Postal voting makes it easier for disabled people and their carers to vote

What did I do today? I voted.

Don’t worry, you haven’t been asleep for 8 days and missed the election; I’ve submitted a postal vote.

I have to admit that it’s not quite the same as walking to the local community centre with family, meeting neighbours and canvassers, getting my name ticked off and then going into the booth with the tiny little pencil. Doing that feels like you are taking part in democracy and are part of something bigger than yourself. Doing it by post is akin to …well I’m not sure actually, as everything is done online or by e-mail nowadays.

I think the best way to describe the feeling is solitude. You don’t get that sense of participation that you do by “going to vote”.

With turnouts declining, people have been talking about making it easier to vote. Ballot boxes in supermarkets is the answer. No, we should all do it by text messaging like a Saturday night TV talent show. The internet is the future dummie, online is where we should be.

Am I being nostalgic (at 30!!!) to think that we would lose that sense of communal participation if we all just tapped a button on a keyboard in our homes one night? Would it actually distance us from the point of voting which is people coming together to decide how we live together?

But then as a colleague pointed out, some people such as those who are seriously ill or disabled and their carers find it hard to get out to vote, so we should be making it easier for everyone to vote. We should not ignore the needs of a sizeable proportion of our population.

Maybe I am being needlessly sentimental, but I’m going to miss not going to the ballot box on 6th May. To those who can, make the most of it. It’s a special feeling that should be treasured. You’ve just voted in a democracy.

Take care,

Gordon

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April 29, 2010 - Posted by | General Election | ,

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