You don’t NEED to vote.

For those of you who may have been living in your little cage of revision, today was the day for people to vote in the EU elections. This may be an iconic day for some of you, if like me you have recently turned 18 and therefore are voting officially for the first time. Let me stress something: This does not mean you HAVE to vote. First of all, let me start by saying that I certainly didn’t; I felt like I didn’t know enough about the candidates standing to vote effectively, and I’m certainly not going to abuse my right to vote.

This relates back to what I have seen so much on social media of today – people pressurising other people to vote. Yes, we have the right to vote, but that doesn’t mean we have to. By not voting I am not ‘abusing the system’, and by not voting it does not mean I can’t have an opinion on the election as a whole. One comment I heard in particular today was ‘If you don’t vote, then you can’t complain’. A vote is something that I believe to be completely a person’s choice, and I think it is wrong to pressurise people into voting when they don’t particularly want to. I would rather make my vote educated rather than just closing my eyes and picking a random box to tick.

I mean, Facebook is even pressuring me now. Five times today I have heard my phone ‘pinging’, and every time it has been Facebook trying to tell me where my nearest voting station is. Not that they’re hard to miss, with the big white signs. Yes, I agree, it’s amazing we have the right to vote, and society has come very far, but I also have the right to buy 10 tons of chocolate every day if I wanted to, and I certainly don’t that. Because I don’t want to. It is not hard to understand. If you are a young person that has voted today, well done to you, but I do hope it was an educated decision, or because you wanted to, not down to the peer pressure.

It feels as if nobody pressures older people to vote, and that is what annoys me the most. I would never go up to my parents, or anybody older, and interrogate them with statements such as ‘Oh, I hope you have voted’, ‘You better have voted, otherwise *insert people they don’t want to get into power* will win’.

I’m certainly passionate about politics, but I’m not passionate about pushy people.

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