Vote for what you believe in
Right now, finding the time to write anything apart from the final chapter of my PhD is difficult. However, I just can’t let the prospect of George and Phoebe’s first opportunity to vote in a General Election pass by without some acknowledgement of this significant milestone – in their lives and in mine.
It doesn’t seem that long ago when I routinely took George and Phoebe with me to the polling station in Southrepps on elections days. I’m grateful that the Presiding Officer never minded me taking the children into the polling booth. Our little ritual included reading through the list of candidates before I cast my vote, and George liked to pop the folded ballot paper into the box.
These days George is far away at Durham University and Phoebe lives in North Norfolk. I miss them both and was really pleased when Phoebe told me that she is going to vote with her Dad – a nice way to mark the occasion.
Years ago, long before rolling registration, I occasionally traipsed the streets of Norwich, delivering electoral census forms. Like all piecework, there was much more to the job than meets the eye. After collecting the forms from the council office you had to sort and deliver them. At a later date, you had to collect the returned completed forms, sort and mark them against the draft register, and then deliver any reminders. The whole process was exhausting and sometimes hazardous, mostly due to the dogs and the strongly sprung letterboxes.
A more enjoyable task was polling duty on the big day itself, which I did for a few years in my twenties. I never applied for the rank of Presiding Officer, choosing to leave that enormous responsibility to someone else and instead, enjoyed a day out of the office, meeting the folk who came to vote and the various pollsters who hung around outside.
And so, George and Phoebe, many congratulations on your right to vote in the forthcoming General Election.
My advice is, vote for what you believe in.