MAKE your vote count and make sure you’re influencing how the country is run.
That is the message from political experts to all constituents ahead of tomorrow’s general election.
Your vote counts more than ever, and that’s particularly the case in areas with marginal seats.YouGov political researcher Adam McDonnell
Whether you live in a so-called safe seat or not, people are being told to send a message that their choice matters.
Polls suggest we will not see one party hold a majority.
And smaller parties believe there is the potential for a ‘watershed moment’ at the polls as they say signs indicate they hold the balance of power, whether it be the Lib Dems, Ukip, the SNP, the Green, the DUP and others.
David Kett, a former public affairs lecturer at Highbury College, in Cosham, Portsmouth, said: ‘It’s vital people make their vote count.
‘In one way or another, you have got to show the support for your political party and its policies nationally, even if you cannot influence your local constituency.
‘If we end up with a hung parliament then it will be about who has the mandate in any coalition that may follow.’
And Mr Kett believes there is now an even stronger case to bring in proportional representation – an electoral system in which the distribution of seats corresponds closely with the proportion of the total votes cast for each party – instead of the current first-past-the-post system.
‘We have now got a multiplicity of smaller parties and yet they haven’t got the political representation they deserve,’ he said.
‘If you look at the 1950s and 1960s, the vote was just for two parties. That style of election has now gone.
‘The reason for that is people are very disillusioned with politics and politicians.’
Adam McDonnell, political researcher for online research firm YouGov, said voters will particularly count where there are marginal seats – like Portsmouth South.
‘This election is very different to anything else we have seen before,’ he said.
‘It’s incredibly close – over the last two months the Conservatives and Labour have been tied at around 34 per cent.
‘We predict it will most likely be a hung parliament and no party will get a majority. It really is all to play for.
‘Your vote counts more than ever, and that’s particularly the case in areas with marginal seats. There will be more marginal seats than last time.’
Daniel Hannan, Tory south-east MEP, said during a visit to Portsmouth yesterday that a coalition was ‘on the cards’.
‘It could go either way, but a coalition is on the cards,’ he said.
‘The question is what form of coalition we get and whether it will be a Labour, SNP one. All options are possible.’
He added: ‘People know who their MP is now more than ever before.’
Have your say
The Meon Valley constituency may have a Conservative majority of more than 12,000 – but the candidates bidding to take the seat this time around explain why every vote will count tomorrow.
DAVID ALEXANDER (Ukip)
It’s important for everybody to vote. In my election address, I said it’s important for everybody to consider all the parties’ manifestos and what they are offering. People should vote using their heart and brain and vote for the party that matches up with their own philosophy.
I am strongly against tactical voting. People need to go with their own beliefs and the party that best addresses their concerns and offers the things that are most important to them.
CHRIS CARRIGAN (Liberal Democrats)
As a Liberal Democrat I care passionately about creating a fairer society.
I believe much of the unfairness we see is cause by broken politics, which cripples our democracy. As a result, many people don’t trust politics or politicians and feel their vote won’t make a difference.
But there are good hard working candidates and important issues out there that are worth voting for.
So I would encourage everyone to find someone or something they believe in and use their vote positively. After all this is your chance to change things for the better.
GEORGE HOLLINGBERY (Conservative)
Putting an X next to someone is something that everyone should do this Thursday.
I believe that X should be next to a Conservative candidate to allow us to finish the job we have started – a job that has already put millions in work, reduced the UK deficit and ring-fenced funding for public services.
But if people are not swayed by these facts, I still want you to head out and vote.
Just remember: only 97 years ago all women and millions of men in this country did not have this right.
GEMMA MCKENNA (Labour)
It’s vital everyone votes on Thursday for the safety and security of future generations.
I joined the Labour Party to end child poverty. In government, Labour lifted 500,000 children out of poverty. The coalition’s austerity cuts are turning back this achievement. A vote for Labour on Thursday is a vote for a strong economy based on fairness for the many and not the few.
It’s a vote to safeguard the most vulnerable from poverty, our children. It’s also a vote to ensure the NHS is safe from privatisation, free and available to all.
DIANA KORCHIEN (Greens)
The Green Party’s motto ‘For the Common Good’ means that we believe in a caring and democratic society which respects people and the environment, not one that disregards both, as has been the case over the past 5 years.
On May 7th, for the first time ever, Meon Valley constituents will be able to vote Green. An election should be about policies, rather than personalities. Still confused? Go to voteforpolicies.org.uk and do the survey.
I wouldn’t be surprised if you made the discovery you are a Green voter. Now all you need to do is go to that polling booth and prove it.
To read The News’ view on this click here.