Gareth from the Office: Your city needs vote

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In one week people across the city will be given the chance to vote for who they want to see serve them as their ward councillors.

And I am urging those whose wards are up for election to make their vote count. There are so many reasons people should get involved, the most important one being, if you don’t vote you don’t deserve a say in what happens in our city.

But in knowing this there are people throughout Milton Keynes who will still choose not to vote, whether it is out of laziness, stubbornness or just forgetfulness. And those are the people I don’t understand.

Every one has an opinion on how the city should be run, whether they are passionate about it or not. Yet still people choose not to use their ‘voice’ to speak when they are given the chance.

In the general elections in May a lot of areas across the city had very high percentage turnout rates for voters.

Olney was the biggest with an amazing 77.3 per cent of those allowed to vote choosing to do so. The smallest turnout was Campbell Park with a shocking 52 per cent voting.

But I would love to know why people choose not to vote. I always make sure I make time to do it. People often say ‘it’s ok my vote wouldn’t have counted’ but it does.

In total, 272 votes were spoiled in the last election in Milton Keynes meaning that more than 10 per cent of the population chose not to vote even when they got in the booth.

If people want to have an opinion then they have to vote. Your opinion may be ‘I didn’t vote for them’ but at least you have voted.

Then the day after we are being asked to vote on how we vote in the AV referendum.

The alternative vote will ask people to vote Yes or No on the decision, simple enough, but what does it mean?

Currently, the voting system rewards the councillor who is ‘first past the post’ meaning that if they reach a certain number of votes then they are elected.

The new system would see people ranking the three choices in terms of who they would like to see in power. Therefore, the most popular person will win, regardless of who reached a certain number first.

Surely the first person past the post is the winner. The gold medal does not go to the person who finished in third or fourth.

But on the other side of the coin surely whoever is the most popular politician should be in power, making it fairer for all involved.

Whatever the outcome I will be voting, I will be making my voice heard and I will be therefore welcome to share my opinion whenever I please. Well, what else do you expect?