It’s the referendum campaign that’s seen battle buses, nationwide rallies, and even a flotilla on the Thames. But with less than a week until polling day, Leave and Remain supporters alike will be setting their sights firmly on ensuring their supporters turn out to vote on June 23rd. Here are 5 reasons why it’s so important that you’re one of them.
1.Every vote will count
Polls throughout the campaigning period have shown both sides to be garnering very similar levels of support. While it looks like ‘Leave’ might have slipped ahead recently, it really does seem to depend on where you look, with different polls showing different gaps between the two sides. Notably, bookmakers are also still offering greater payouts in the event of a ‘Leave’ vote, casting some doubt on the latest polling figures. Put simply, this vote is likely to be very close, and in a head-to-head contest, every vote really will count.
2. The outcome matters
The debate leading up to this vote has shown us that our membership of the EU has impacts on things as far reaching as the economy and immigration, right through to our rights at work and the food we buy in the supermarket. We haven’t had a national debate on our membership of the EU since 1975, and it’s unlikely we’ll see another in this generation. The stakes are high.
3. It’s a straight two-way fight
In a general election, it’s understandable that people might feel switched off by voting if they find every option on the ballot uninspiring. Likewise, depending on the voting system and number of opponents, tactical voting can sometimes come into play and it’s not necessarily always the person with the most votes who wins straight off. In a referendum, it is; you only have two options, to remain in the EU or to leave it. It’s not possible to do neither, and it’s a straight race to majority.
4. Voting is a privilege not everyone has
We’re all familiar with the difficult fights that women before us had to secure voting rights for us. While there’s always a debate at voting time around whether or not this should mean women are compelled to vote (many would argue that it’s the choice which the Suffragettes were fighting for), it’s definitely true that the chance to take part in one of the biggest political decisions of a lifetime is not something everyone gets. Around the world, there are still countries where women are denied the same voting rights as men, and where serious issues of voting corruption and intimidation prevent a fair and democratic result.
5. It could be women that decide the outcome
Women make up the majority of the population at 52%, and there are around a million more of us eligible to vote than there are men. We’re a big enough group to swing the vote, but we’re also more likely than men to be undecided even at this late stage. The referendum debate itself has been criticised for shutting out women’s voices, with men like Boris Johnson, David Cameron and Nigel Farage dominating; let’s make sure the same can’t be said for the outcome.
Voting takes place on Thursday 23rd June, with polling stations open from 7am until 10pmso that everyone has a chance to cast their vote. Make sure you cast yours. After all, it only takes 2 minutes to mark a cross on a ballot paper, but the result is one that will affect us all for years to come.