Voting highs and lows…
17 Apr 2019
Did you know that the English powers that be decided to lower the voting age from 21 to 18 exactly 50 years ago today?
It occurs to me that many of our younger pensioners were suddenly granted the right to vote for the first time on that day, although the news did not make a lot of difference until a year and two months later when the UK elected to get rid of Harold Wilson and replace him with Edward Heath.
So it worked out that, if you were born after 18th June 1949 and before June 18 1952 you suddenly had all this extra power and responsibility three years earlier. I was one who suddenly qualified and I remember having no interest in doing my bit for England at all, but my dad forced me to go and do my part.
I remember getting the voting slip and shutting my eyes before letting my pen drop. I just placed my cross there without a second thought and honestly don’t remember who’s name it fell on; but that was then. I suppose that I have more of an opinion now but I wonder if I had a unique attitude to politics when I was one of the newly eligible.
I did a bit of googling and found out that, during the last local elections only 35% of those eligible to, voted in my Lewisham ward, while in the last national elections in 2017 68.7% bothered to make their thoughts known. But that means that there are still a lot of possible voters who didn’t.
Making sure that we are and that we remain on the electoral register often can be the problem. In the past when the manila envelope arrived in the post, I have to admit that I was often guilty of telling myself I will deal with it later before then forgetting altogether, although I make more of an effort these days.
I suppose that every day can prove inconvenient for most people, and finding the time to get to the polling stations on a Thursday can prove challenging. I have to admit to actually arriving too late a couple of times when working and, as we get older mobility can make it quite difficult to register our political thoughts too, but if getting there is the problem, the way forward must be arranging a postal vote which is not that hard to do.
LPG has found some information on the history of UK elections over the years and notes that 50 years on from the time of the first voting age drop a lot is being said about lowering the voting age to 16.
We have also found some information about how to check that you are registered and how to arrange a postal vote…