Voting, both sides of the ballot box

As observent readers of my blog might have noticed, my school have been holding a mock election. As politics students, my class went to the polling station (sixth form centre) to set up and staff it in the first period, and I ended up behind the ballot boxes, directing students and staff which box to put their paper in. There was one for years 7-9, who were brought down in classes to vote, and one for 10-13 and staff, who could choose to vote at break or lunch, so voting behaviour could be analysed.

Each of the three main parties had student representation, but Labour were by far the more forceful. Sixth formers in Labour rosettes and stickers were standing by the entry door until the promotional material was removed at our teacher’s request. However, it didn’t stop there. Year eights were given football stickers (stolen from Morrisons by a boy in my year) in exchange for voting Labour, with several confessing at the exit poll that they would have voted differently had they not been promised a sticker. Stickergate ensued, with the threat of vote deduction. I’m pretty sure a couple of them put two slips in the ballot boxes too, though I couldn’t prove it.

After two periods plus break of manning the ballot box, the result won’t be revealed until tomorrow. So it’s not much different from the real election in that respect. I went to vote at the local community centre this evening, with my mum who said she’d never seen anyone more excited about voting than me. Being a first time voter is an exciting thing, especially as it’s a general election, and not just local ones. I was pretty glad they had party logos by each of the candidate’s names, as I recognised few, especially on the local elections. Walking out, I felt really grown up and that I actually had power now over decisions in the country, and glad I hadn’t made a mess-up at all.

Now I’ve just got to sit back and let the results roll in. If it ends up in a hung parliament, I could be voting again a lot sooner than I think. So, until tomorrow, time to forget about the election. Unless of course, you haven’t voted yourself yet. In which case, what are you waiting for?

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