‘Young people are disillusioned with politics’ – it’s a phrase we hear politicians churn out every once in a while. This reluctance from the general public to influence the Government and Parliament is well-acknowledged, but the reasons for this disenfranchisement remain unknown. However, as the gov.uk website for voter registration crashed late last night, we saw one of the many aspects which turns people off from voting and having their say in British politics.
Throughout the day, I’ve seen people criticise those who left it too late last night to register to vote, but is that not counter-productive? Up to yesterday’s deadline we have been urging everyone to sign up to have their say in what has been dubbed as ‘a vote in a generation’, and now, because some have left it to the last day, we’re essentially complaining that they’re actually wanting to vote?
Granted, they may have ‘left it a bit late’, but not only does the increase in voters boost the turnout and democracy itself, but it can also promote the need for young people (arguably the most disillusioned group in our society) to register to vote – it shows the importance of this referendum and general elections. What does insulting and complaining about a boost in voter numbers – however late – show to those who have finally taken an interest in politics? Perhaps it suggests that they think timekeeping is more important than these individuals actually exercising an extremely important, democratic right.
Even the Green Party’s election broadcast this year about ‘grown up politics’ was commended by the public for addressing the public’s frustration with leading politicians. However, as much as MPs need to address their behaviour, now we also need to address the attitude we have towards those who finally want to make their voice heard.
Voting is a right which people have fought for throughout history. We should be applauding and praising everyone who wishes to exercise that right, and challenging those who do not want to.
What do you think about the voter registration website crashing last night? Should people have registered beforehand, or should there be an extension? Comment below!
The deadline to register to vote in the EU referendum has been extended to midnight tomorrow. If you haven’t already, you can do so here.