Do non-voters know they have the numbers to change Stormont?

Did you know that more people did not vote last time than actually voted for all of the four main parties put together*?

Over one and a quarter million people are eligible to vote in the NI Assembly Election. Last year, of the 1,281, 595 people who could vote, almost half didn’t.

  • 540,018 in total* voted for DUP, Sinn Fein, UUP and SDLP
  • 577,851 did not vote at all

votes-cast-2016-chart-001-2

I find that astounding…especially given the helplessness expressed by ordinary everyday people in Northern Ireland who just want a government that will govern and make life better instead of worse.

There are of course many reasons why people don’t vote. Some have not managed to register or get ID in time, some are not mobile enough and can’t get to the polling booth or haven’t been able to get a proxy vote in time. Some are not aware that it is even possible to get a proxy vote or ID. Others feel that there is no-one worth voting for. Many are  disillusioned with politics and with politicians, especially mainstream parties.

Maybe if people knew that all is not lost—that there are enough people who could vote for a completely different kind of Stormont—maybe that would encourage them to get out and vote for it.

Maybe if people were aware that there are other parties, other alternatives, they would vote or vote differently:

  • The Alliance and Green Parties both have candidates in every constituency. Large numbers voting for them across Northern Ireland could really upset the apple and orange cart.
  • Many smaller parties such as People before Profit and the Workers Party have candidates in a number of constituencies (For the full list see: http://sluggerotoole.com/2017/02/05/candidates-running-in-ae17-part-2/)
  • There is probably at least one independent running in each constituency.

Of course many of those who have always voted along traditional ‘orange and green’ lines will be happy to continue voting the same way as before, but others are increasingly frustrated with the current stalemate. Maybe there are some who will consider voting differently this time, even if that just means voting for a different shade of orange or green? Even that small voting change might shift the landscape enough to allow some of the progress we all (most of us) so desperately want.

No change in vote will be wasted. Even if the dominant parties maintain their grip on Stormont, large numbers of people voting differently will send a strong message that the people of Northern Ireland/the North of Ireland have different priorities, want different policies and want a different kind of government. The mandate will have changed.

Please make sure you are registered to vote (see how below) and then Vote on 2 March (polling booths are open from 7am to 10pm).

Voter Registration and Deadlines

Check if you’re registered – it is easy

Phone the Electoral Office Helpline on 0800 4320 712 from 9am to 4.30pm Monday to Thursday or 9am to 4pm on Friday. You will need to provide your name, address and date of birth.

No ID? Don’t worry

If you don’t currently have any photographic ID needed for voting then please apply for an Electoral ID card – it isn’t hard but your deadline is this Friday 10th Feb. (Apparently out of date photographic ID is ok as long as you still look like your photo. See info.)

This Friday    –    10 Feb 2017    –    Register and apply for Electoral ID Card

You can either apply in person at an office where you don’t need other ID, or you can send in a form together with your student card, disability sticker or other kind of ID (see info) or you can get a Councillor, MLA, MEP or MP to sign a declaration for you (again see info).

This Friday    –    10 Feb 2017    –    Register for postal/proxy vote

Valentine’s Day    –    14 Feb 2017    –    Register for ordinary vote

Your form must be sent or handed in to the relevant office – so allow yourself enough time to post/deliver it.   Find your constituency’s office address at:  http://www.eoni.org.uk/Utility/Contact-Us

*Note – this is first preference votes

3 thoughts on “Do non-voters know they have the numbers to change Stormont?

  1. Voting “along traditional orange and green lines” is not in itself a bad thing. I’m kind of sick of it being painted as such. It’s possible to have strong views on the constitutional status of N. Ireland/”The Irish Question” while supporting progressive, inclusive politics that has equality at its core. Progressive politics is what we should be promoting here. Let’s face it… a vote for the DUP is definitely not that. I’d argue that both of the main Nationalist parties (Sinn Fein and the SDLP) are progressive in their outlook. The UUP definitely has a progressive wing. Alliance and the Greens want to move the country forward. If you’re a unionist and want to see a strong NI remaining as part of the UK, the fire and brimstone politics of the DUP isn’t helping your cause one iota. Don’t fall for their lies. Vote for a *progressive* (pro-union) party that will actually work with nationalists/republicans to make OUR HOME a place that we’re all proud of and one where we all want to live!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Don’t complain about the assembly. It has been your ‘non vote ‘ that has voted in the assembly. COMPLAIN WITH YOUR FEET TO THE POLLS.

    Like

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