The next election may not be right around the corner, however it is still important to make sure you register to vote! With so many important decisions being made day-to-day by our governments, it is easy to forget that we all have a say in our futures when we enter the voting booth.
The Right to Vote
We don't have to travel too far down memory lane to discover the individuals who risked their lives to fight for the right to vote! The push for women's voting rights has been a long and hard one... in some European countries, like Finland and Norway, women have been able to vote since the beginning of the 20th Century, however, in other countries, like Switzerland, this was not the case until the 70's! And, in the UK, Margaret Thatcher became the first female head of government in 1979, a whole 61 years after women were given voting rights!
Why is it Important to Register to Vote?
Voter registration becomes particularly important when governments hold referendums on important issues — one such referendum, held in Ireland in 2014, was when a whopping 62% of people voted "yes" to legalise same-sex marriage. Another example was the 2014 Scottish Referendum, which saw a record turnout of 84.5% of the population — one of the highest figures in the democratic world for any election or any referendum ever!
We all disagree with politicians from time to time, so when an issue comes up that you feel passionately about, from council taxes to climate change, it is important that you have the opportunity to have your say!
Systems for voter registration vary widely from country to country — in several European countries, citizens are automatically registered, meaning that all you need to do is to show up at the polling station with your ID. However, if you live in the UK, it is up to each individual (not household!) to register for themselves, otherwise, come election day, you cannot vote! It's also important to remember that, in the UK, you can vote by post too!
So, in short, make sure you are on the register before it is too late! And remember, registering to vote doesn't mean you have to, it just means you can if you want to!