I wrote before the Lincolnshire County Council elections stressing the importance of using your vote as an extension of your voice.
My intention was to get as many people as possible to learn about their candidates and then turn out to vote en masse.
While my intention evidently was not fulfilled with the news that only 25 per cent of people in town exercised their right to, people did in fact use their vote. Abstaining from voting is a valid use of your vote and in this case it appears to stem from a lack of connection with the candidates.
If all a voter hears about the elections is from a leaflet dropped through the letterbox a few weeks before the day how can we expect any more than the kind of turn out that we saw this year?
In my column I pointed out that people should take an interest in their local politics as it affects them on a day to day basis.
On the other hand however, if the candidates don’t reach out to the electorate, why should the electorate make the effort?
Another reason became apparent after winners were announced. Many of the returning incumbents declared war on potholes in their victory speeches as if they hadn’t been in office and able to fight them for the last four years.
This was pointed out by some readers on the Journal website and is part of the disillusionment that has caused the low turnout.
There is something to the argument that general apathy towards politics played into it but if politicians want to improve the numbers they have to accept that abstaining is different to not caring and they have to put forth the effort to get to know their electorate.
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