The Public Gallery: Don’t forget to vote

By - Thursday 22nd May, 2014

Today, everyone in Croydon gets to decide who’s in charge without a shot being fired. Don’t forget to play your part, writes Tom Black

Are you under 18?

Are you a convicted criminal currently serving a custodial sentence?

Are you a person being held in a mental hospital?

Are you a member of the royal family?

Unless the answer to any of the above questions is ‘yes’, you can vote today. (If you answered ‘yes’ to all four, then not being able to vote is probably the least of your worries.)

It won’t surprise regular readers to know that I think you all really ought to take the time to cast a ballot today. Voting is a civic duty as well as a right. Noble arguments about men and women dying for your right to vote aside, this election really is important. Some big issues are at stake, from regeneration to climate change. Today, we don’t just elect a new council, but we vote for our MEPs, who will have to represent us in the European Union for the next five years. With the world in the state it’s in at the moment, I know it’s important to me that I have a say in who those people are.

Can’t stand any of them? All politicians truly the same to you? Turn up, write an expletive on the ballot, and pop it in the box anyway. Spoiling your ballot is a noble and upright tradition in any democracy, and has more a direct, registrable impact – you don’t get lumped in with the ‘couldn’t be bothered to leave the house’ non-voters.

So get out there, today. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re engaged enough to give a damn about the future of Croydon. Whichever party or individual you think has the best answers, make sure you give them your support. The other 364 days of the year, frankly, don’t matter compared to the power you have today.

Remember – you have more than one vote in the local elections. Place an ‘x’ next to each of the three candidates (or two, if you live in New Addington or Fieldway) you want to represent you on the council. In the European elections, you have one vote. Place an ‘x’ next to the party you want to win. And remember, you don’t need your polling card. If you’ve lost it or just would rather not take it with you to the polling station, simply give your name and address to the people at the desk and you’ll be in the booth in no time. If you don’t know where your polling station is, call 020 8726 6300 to speak to Croydon Council Electoral Services.

You have until 10pm to vote. At that point, the polls will close and the Croydon Citizen‘s live election night coverage will begin. I’ll be liveblogging and livetweeting all night, with all the latest from the count and around the country. Join me tonight, live from 10pm.

Tom Black

Tom Black

Tom is the Citizen's General Manager, and spent his whole life in Croydon until moving to Balham in 2017. He also writes plays that are occasionally performed and books that are occasionally enjoyed. He's been a Labour Party member since 2007, and in his spare time runs an online publishing house for alternate history books, Sea Lion Press. He is fluent in Danish, but speaks no useful languages. Views personal, not representative of editorial policy.

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