Thursday, 4 May 2017

Chuckles Chat #15 Do You Vote?

Welcome to Chuckles Chat where great blogging minds unite to discuss the topics of the day mainly in the book and blogging world. I'll be sharing my thoughts on a topic and then inviting you all to share your thoughts. It's ok to disagree but PLEASE be respectful of each other's views! All of the comments on my blog are moderated and offensive posts ie racist, bigoted will not be published! 

As today are the council elections in Scotland, Wales and England, I figured it would be topical to ask everyone about voting. Your choice of who to vote for or who you previously voted for is a private thing so you don't have to tell us that if you don't want to! If you do want to talk about who you voted for though, I'd love to hear it coz I'm nosey! Please don't yell at those who voted different from you!

I always try to vote if I can. My reasoning behind that is purely personal...I don't feel I have the right to moan about what the government of the day is doing if I don't bother to get involved in the voting itself. It's very rare that who I vote for in the General Election wins anyway! I've missed the odd local or EU election but I have voted in every General Election, Scottish Parliament (I think) and referendum since I turned 18 though my voting habits have changed since back then. 

I'm a believer in First Past the Post. It isn't perfect but in my memory it has always delivered a stable government and just one coalition. I see some countries with other systems which always return coalitions and every time a disagreement in policy occurs, it breaks down and there is another election. I can't remember which European country it was but there seems to be votes there every couple of months and that would drive me crazy! FPTP also limits the influence of extremist parties which I'm happy about. I agree that is does have its problems but I do prefer this system. I understand though why smaller parties would rather go by share of the vote.

My voting sometimes differs in the council elections as I tend to vote for those who have helped us out with problems rather than which party they stand for. If I have an issue I need help with I never go to the MP for our area, I always go to the MSP or local councillors. No real reason for it other than maybe a thought that the local representatives are more vested in helping you or the MP might be away in London for Parliament business and unable to see you. There's also the fact now that I seriously dislike my current local MP and wouldn't ever ask for their help even if I had no other option.

I don't mind telling you that I took my first vote very seriously in 1992. I wanted to get leaflets of all the policies for each party so I could study them and decide for myself based on facts. I went to the local Labour election office first and asked the woman at the desk about leaflets. When I explained I was a first time voter, she asked me to wait and the MP himself invited me in to discuss it. He explained in detail all his policies and I left there determined to vote for him. He was a good man and an excellent MP for our area but was subjected to bullying and sadly killed himself. I'll never forget his kindness and how keen he was to win my vote, making me feel so important. May he rest in peace. 

Basically this is my political journey. I voted Labour right through until 2010 when I became seriously disillusioned with the party on several key issues. I voted Liberal reluctantly despite disagreeing with them on many policies, but I had liked Nick Clegg in the debates. I then watched in fury as they abandoned manifesto pledges on tuition fees and helped the Tories bring in the Bedroom Tax! No to voting that way again...In 2015 I had a real issue. I disliked and distrusted the Labour leader Ed Miliband but felt I had to back his party and was horrified to see Scottish Labour wiped out by the SNP and a Tory majority in London. So now two years later I'm faced with a worse situation. I hate the way the Labour party is going now and as a NO voter in the Scottish referendum and a Brexit voter in the EU referendum, I am faced with real problems over who to vote for! Gah!

For US voters-how easy is it to see your senator or congress-person? Is it easier to see one over another? Do you vote in local elections for mayor/governor etc? In the big election do you vote for the candidate or mostly on party lines? Was there an opposition candidate you just had to vote for over your own party candidate? 

For UK voters, do you vote in all versions of the elections? Does your choice of candidate at local level differ from the General Election? Has your voting changed over the years or do you always back the same party? Did you vote today? Should we have Presidential style elections to choose a PM? Do you want to see changes to the voting system? If so what changes?

If you are from another country, how does your system work and are you happy with it?

12 comments:

  1. Both I and Mr. Barb vote however I can attest I'm not always happy with the way it is set up. You have the popular vote, which then determines if your state votes Democrat or Republican. Then, each state is assigned a number of electoral votes which are assigned by the popular vote and the electoral votes are tallied to determine the winner. For the most part it's usually the same, but for example this year, the popular vote would have elected a totally different president. It's interesting to see how your process works.

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    1. Yeah with us it's simply the highest number of votes in each constituency elects that party rep and the most party reps across the country wins the overall election. Hence the name first past the post! I like it because it is straightforward and everyone understands it, and you don't get that issue over popular vote v electoral college. With your elections it seems only a few states are actually up for grabs each time as the others stay red or stay blue. I still enjoy the excitement of your election nights with the polls closing every half hour and projections being made!

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  2. I’m in the US. I vote in big elections and in elections where there is an issue I care about. I’m not affiliated with any political party, but I voted for Clinton in the last election because I think Trump is a walking garbage fire. I’m not sure how easy it is to see elected officials in person. I know some of them hold town halls where you can ask questions in person. I have emailed my reps, but I’ve never met one.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. Quite a few people I know were unhappy at having to choose between Clinton and Trump and I guess I understand their points. I wonder if Sanders would have given Trump a close run...that could have been interesting. Trump, IMHO, needs to stop tweeting and do the job!

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  3. We have elections here every four years or so for the government and then two different ones for smaller things. It's a bit complicated how everything works as there are also some parts you don't vote directly for as they are chosen by the parts we do vote. I don't understand everything myself 100%.

    I am not sure if I am happy with it, but at the same time when I compare it to other countries and how different it is there I can't really imagine having that here. I guess it works well enough and this is what I am used to, but not sure if this is the best way or not. I like that as long as your party gets vote they have a seat and thus a vote on what happens. So even if your party doesn't win, at least they still have their seats. Although we have a system were coalitions can break down and you have to vote anew, but it doesn't happen as often here.

    I usually just pick one of the parties that fit my opinions and vote on them, but don't delve too deeply in all the political parties. Last time we had elections I did an online test and went with what they suggested as that was one of my top choices anyway. I usually try and vote, especially for the government elections, but not always for the smaller ones.

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    1. Thanks for the info! I do enjoy hearing about how other voting systems are set up. It does sound a little complicated if the public don't get to vote for everything. The advantages of these proportional representation systems is that every vote really does count so I understand why people like that system. I guess no system is perfect but most people are happy to stick with what they know in case the alternative is worse!

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  4. I used to vote back in Germany. And I have to agree with what you say - I don't think you have the right to complain about your government if you didn't actively take part in the election. I feel like it was my responsibility to vote - even though, like you, whomever I voted for never won haha. At least I tried, you know? ;-)

    I don't vote anymore. I COULD still do it in Germany, as I am still a citizen, but I am not living there anymore so it wouldn't affect me and I don't know what's going on there anyways.

    In Australia I am not allowed because I am a permanent resident, no citizen (yet).

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    1. I was never good at picking the winning side! In Scotland until recently, Labour was the main party but if England voted Tory, they would win. Things changed when Tony Blair came to power for Labour and got large parts on England voting for him, but since he has gone, Labour are on the slide and now Scotland is controlled by the SNP. I can understand why you don't vote in Germany now. Hopefully you'll be able to vote in Australia soon!

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  5. I am from the US and wholly disgusted with my country at the moment. I think there were many contributing factors to creating the trump chaos and the media had a huge part in it because they covered him nonstop, and then were surprised when he won. Choosing between Clinton and Trump just about made me vomit, but I sucked it up and voted for Clinton because I did not want what is currently happening here to happen. I supported Sanders all the way and I have no doubt that he would have defeated trump. It infuriates me that while Sanders got right back to work after the election, continuing to encourage voting in the races coming up in 2018, Clinton hid out for a couple months, but is finally now crawling out of hiding. More than ever, it is important to get active here in all levels of government. I will not let my daughter grow up in a world that the GOP is trying to destroy and they must all be swept out of office in the coming elections. Okay, rant over! :)

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    1. I see a lot of people online that are sharing your anger and frustration. I liked the look of what I saw in Bernie Sanders and he seemed to appeal to those younger voters just like Obama did. It would have been an interesting election had he got the nomination anyway. Wonder if he would run in four years?

      You're more than welcome to have a rant on this blog about politics and stuff anytime!

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  6. Awesome article! I want people to know just how good this information is in your article. It’s interesting, compelling content. Your views are much like my own concerning this subject.
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    1. Thank you very much for your kind words!

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