Have you voted today?

You’ve had the literature in the letterbox. You’ve answered the door to candidates and campaigners bedecked in party colours and clamouring for your vote. You have - we hope - tackled your local hopefuls on the issues you care about, and made sure they know what you expect of them.

You may even have been lucky enough to run into Brian, Enda, Eamonn, or Gerry on their whistlestop tours of our highways and byways.

And now voting day is finally here.

I suppose it’s easy for me to witter on about the importance of making informed choices. For months now our office has been inundated on a daily basis with phone calls, press releases, and election material. We’ve interviewed the candidates. We’ve trawled the internet for profiles and predictions. We’ve been impressed and unimpressed in equal measures.

I’ll be voting later today. But I’ll be the first to admit I’ve found it difficult to make up my mind this time around.

Coming from a family who always voted by candidate rather than party, and living away from my home constituency, I have no old reliables or party allegiances to fall back on.

I’ve listened to the same arguments as everyone else, and I’m sure I have the same concerns as many people my age or living in my area.

There’s been a lot of talk about whether this year’s local elections truly are local. Will they be used, as many are suggesting to ‘send a message’ about the mood of the electorate?

“Local politics is not about political parties,” trumpets many a candidate. “We need a change,” argues another. “They’re all as bad as each other,” counter the pessimists.

Whatever your take on things - and you can be sure that there are as many grievances as there are voters out there - today is the day to have your say.

Are you happy with the way your local town, county, or community is developing? Do you feel your local councillor is giving value for money and is a voice for you on your local town or county council? Then you need to make sure you offer your support today and ensure things continue on the right track. Give them the recognition they deserve.

The same goes for the European elections.

If, on the other hand, you don’t feel you are being well represented, now is your chance to make some changes. Don’t grumble in private. This opportunity comes but once every five years, so make sure you grasp it with both hands.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see how things pan out today. I have no idea which way tomorrow’s counts will go. I’m pretty sure they will throw up many a surprise, which makes it all the more exciting.

In past elections, candidates have been known to lose or gain seats by a mere handful of votes. One of them could be yours!


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