Enter the world of politics by voting

I remember leaving a polling station a few decades ago in my hometown and bumping into a friend who told me that he had just voted for the introduction of divorce on the basis that it would make “loads more wimmen available for the shift”. And boy, was he pleased with himself. Not really bothering to enlighten him to the fact that his vote would also free up more men to compete with his Lothario efforts, I let him off as happy as Larry, having voted for what was probably the most meaningful reason he had ever had.

Everyone has a reason for voting. And the easiest thing in the world is to find a reason not to. There’s the bother, The what’s the point. The sure what will they ever do for me.

Bottom line is we all should vote; we all need to vote, but don’t just go in and tick the boxes. Find out something about the candidates in your area; ask family and friends, consult media, contribute something to the debate. Know what you’re voting for and stand by that. Don’t assume that everything is a fait accompli. There is always a twist in the tail at these elections. See the European debate for Midlands North West this week and see how new dynamics have come into play there. Don’t assume that party power equals greatness. Work your day down the ballot paper and make best value of your right.

When voting this week, vote for the candidates who you believe can bring a better future for you and your family. Voting is the first act of building a community, in the same way it is the first act of building a country. Voting is an expresson of a commitment to ourselves and to others.

When you vote you enter politics, and when you vote, remember that your single vote is the same single vote as the most powerful person in your region or community. It is a great leveller, a chance to have equality of expression of opinion.

Here’s a look behind the scenes at what will happen this weekend. After polling closes tomorrow night, all boxes will be delivered to Leisureland where they will be guarded overnight. On Saturday morning, the boxes will be opened and the votes divided into city, county, European, and referendum. City votes go to Westside Community Centre; county council votes go to the Galway Lawn Tennis Club; European votes go to Castlebar; and the referendum votes are counted in Leisureland. However, tallies will start on Saturday moirning, so early indications of success or otherwise may become apparent.

On Saturday morning, we will start our coverage of the local election results on all our platforms. Our small but resourceful teams at the count centres will be carrying every count live on social media, so follow us on twitter, facebook and on our website www.advertiser.ie So keep up to date with all that is happening. Find out who is winning for your area. On Sunday, we will carry the results from Castlebar where the European election count will be held.

By supper on Sunday, most of your new councillors will have been elected. Good luck to the candidates. To the voters, vote wisely, vote early, or vote late. But whatever you do, vote. By the way, my friend never got the shift. No doubt, he’s voting yes in the referendum tomorrow, just to keep his options open.


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