Blogpost: Why did 48,075 Harlow residents decide not to vote?

General / Wed 17th May 2023 at 10:46am

THE co-leader of the Harlow Green Party has reflected on the low turnout at the recent district elections in Harlow.

Yasmin Gregory, Co-Leader of Harlow Green Party and Green Party candidate for Old Harlow Ward writes:

48,075 Chose not to use their Democratic Right – Is the Answer Proportional Representation and another Bank Holiday?

Sometimes, it pays not to dignify comments with a response when faced with yet another headline regarding Harlow Council Conservatives.  The resignation of Russell Perrin and subsequent reinstatement of a previous Deputy Leader (the one before the last one) is one of those occasions.

Latest statistics show that there are 64,158 in Harlow who are entitled to vote. For whatever reason on Thursday 4 May, 3 out of 4 people in Harlow did not vote; 48,075 men and women of Harlow did not exercise their democratic right.  48,075 is equivalent to the entire workforce of Premier Inns and restaurants or just over half the capacity of Wembley Stadium

Whilst the CEO (and ex Head of Planning) Andrew Bramidge will play with statistics as to how many people turned up to vote without the correct form of Voter Identification, we were reliably informed that some voters protested over this enforced costly step, which was evidence of more rushed legislation by this government by not turning up to vote.  

The blending of local politics, county council and national responsibilities becomes confusing to so many people each May (in Harlow), especially when the incumbent MP openly supports the local Party’s candidates around the different wards.  “I’m going to vote for Robert!” is the chant from those that are deaf to your words, even when you try to explain that Robert is a Member of Parliament, which is different to a local councillor and he is not standing as a councillor for Harlow.  This particular person was also saying how she liked Boris Johnson because he was funny and charming.  I’ll just leave that there.

I wish to make it clear that I am not ‘Tory Bashing’.  I am merely pointing out that until voting apathy is conquered, we can continue to expect the same type of people running your Council.  Making decisions for you that you may or may not agree with because you did not vote.

The Green Party are true advocates of Proportional Representation.  Proportional Representation would encourage political parties to appeal to all voters and it would ensure that votes translate directly into seats.  I will be attending the Sort the System lobbying day organised by Make Votes Matter on 24 May and am scheduled to meet with Robert Halfon MP.

In my personal opinion, I would make Election Day a national holiday.  The Polls could be open from 7.00am – 10.00pm as they currently are or possibly close earlier.  You can use your Polling Card so that you can be recorded as voting on the day along with your family so that your children can see the importance of voting.  Fast Forward 20 years and you may even be able to vote from the comfort of your home with the candidates sat on seats with the losers being ejected Graham Norton style.  We can but dream.  In the meantime, please vote at every opportunity.  Vote for who you think will do the best for you and your community.

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20 Comments for Blogpost: Why did 48,075 Harlow residents decide not to vote?:

James Leppard
2023-05-17 11:20:30

Has Yasmin Gregory really thought through her proposal to make polling day a public holiday? She provides no supporting evidence that this would improve voter turnout. On contrary, given that elections are always on Thursdays, it is quite possible that many people might take advantage and make a long weekend of it and drive off to the coast or hop on a Ryanair flight at considerable economic cost the the country. Surely a better solution would be for all Parties to encourage postal voting. Would certainly save people from driving to polling stations, which I am sure the Greens should encourage. In the meantime, Ms Gregory might like to ponder as to why the Green vote in Harlow fell at a time when her colleagues in neighbouring East Herts made significant progress.

Steven Everard
2023-05-17 12:00:54

Why not have online voting, that would increase the turnout considerably. Its 2023 why aren't we using Tech to make voting more accessible to everyone of voting age.

geoff turner
2023-05-17 12:29:33

why did 48,075 residents decide not to vote quite simple none of you are any bloody good and most off them were fixing there cars as they had hit pot holes

2023-05-17 13:17:28

Until politicians start serving the public rather than themselves the vote turn out will continue to decline. This article clearly demonstrates this. If you offer something the people want they will vote for you. It’s that simple

Adam Taylor
2023-05-17 14:22:22

it is simple we did not vote as the conservatives, labour, libdem and certainly the greens do not represent the wishes of most people in the town. People do not want to be worse off following Net Zero for a none existent climate emergency (check NOAA satellite data), they do not want to pay higher taxes to get worse services and the definitely do not want to hear from ever politicians that there are issues with services but no solutions as they like to play the blame game. We do not need more public holidays (it costs employers showing Greens lack of business understanding). What we need is lower taxes, less government in our lives, better services for police, Education (not pushing insane woke policies) NHS reform (along French aligns). Better employment prospects for our kids, lower cost houses (let the market collapse). We need to stop the acceptance of gradual / managed decline the civil service / local government / politicians seem to be accepting. We need a bonfire of regulations, quangos and government oversight. We need handwork, personal responsibility and big of get up and go not like out previous leader of the council who quit when faced with hardwork and long hours.

Kim Oconnor
2023-05-17 17:57:55

James Leppard, I wouldn't get to complacent. The greens are growing bigger and better, as the turn out proves ,up and down this country. Postal voting would be one option, but as its not working properly at moment through lack of staff,, would it ever get there 😂 The ID voting is clearly not working.

David Forman
2023-05-17 19:56:49

In many countries of Europe and in Mauritius elections take place on a Sunday. In Mauritius they are followed by a national holiday on the Monday. This would help increase turnout.

Darren Franklin
2023-05-17 20:21:41

I heard absolutely nothing from any of the candidates thus had no idea what their mandate was. Simples.

Staff Reporter
2023-05-17 20:36:40

Darren, loads of interviews and policy announcements here. Next year let us know what help you need. https://www.yourharlow.com/category/politics/elections/

2023-05-18 14:42:30

It will make no difference what so ever what day voting is or how it's submitted in HARLOW, the truth is right in front of you.... people don't want to vote in HARLOW as nothing gets done the council DO NOT LISTEN they are full of broken promises, too much wasted money on stupid ideas, too much crime, no shops, no trust, need I list anymore. Time after time promises are made but not upheld... Harlow has become a dump nothing is consistent especially the upkeep of ALL ESTATE it's not policed it's unsafe even to go shopping, no jobs, our housing goes to the overflowing of other towns Harlow residents do not come first & foremost & yet you wonder why people don't vote, we do not have faith or trust in Harlow council or HTS on anything they do so or say, pretty much useless.

Mark Gough
2023-05-18 16:36:37

I'll let Yasmin know a little secret! Local Election turnouts in Harlow have been between 22-35% every year for 25 years, unless they are at the same time as the General Election. We all moan and complain about how it's bad for democracy but the truth is not voting is also a democratic option! The truth of the matter is us Politicans haven't convinced them there is someone worth voting for. And in that every Candidate and Party shares the blame! It's our job to change it! Mark Gough Reform UK

2023-05-18 16:50:19

Until those elected both Nationally and Locally remember "Elected by the people to Serve the people" then turnouts are always going to be poor

tony edwards
2023-05-18 17:08:08

To put the 2023 Average Election Turnout in some context - Harlow 25.2%, Epping Forest 26.1%, Broxbourne 24.1%, East Herts 34.4%, (East Herts were "all out" elections)

Nicholas Taylor
2023-05-18 18:51:35

Mark, I might suggest you take a look back at election turnout back in the 1990's. You will see that even when a General election was not taking place, turnout in most Wards was above 40% and in some cases over 50%. I am afraid that many people have simply given up, when for example 6000 register their objection to the trashing of the River Stort and not a single person (other than local councillors) spoke in favour of the proposal and yet it was voted through. What has happened in East Herts and others like Boston gives hope that the worm is turning.

Keith H
2023-05-19 11:22:07

Adam Taylor and Jrc just about sums it up. Nothing more needs to be said.

Jennifer Steadman Green Party Candidate.
2023-05-20 15:41:52

@Darren Franklin, which ward do you live in, because I was out door knocking in my ward of Bush Fair to introduce myself & speak to many of the residents. I went to as many areas as I could. Please e Let us know where you are & the candidate can come & meet with you at your convenience.

2023-05-22 13:03:23

I did not vote as I have no faith in any politician whatsoever. Simple as that

2023-05-22 21:06:53

As said no one has any faith or trust in politicians.

Nicholas Taylor
2023-05-23 07:51:06

Not voting just means that you leave power in the hands of those you do not trust. Those of us in the Harlow Alliance Party and indeed the many other independent Parties and independent Councillors across the Country provide an alternative to the Party system wedded to Westminster.

Christine Rogers
2023-05-27 21:37:12

How can we vote for councilors we don't know? Councilors should make an effort to meet their constituents, including those who live in flats, and meetings should be publicised in all surrounding areas.

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