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South Kesteven District Council leader appeals to people to vote in General Election on July 4

Last month’s Deepings Charity Run, organised by the Rotary Club of the Deepings, saw a record-breaking number of competitors in both the 10k road race and the 3k fun run and consequently thousands of pounds was raised for local good causes, writes South Kesteven District Council leader Ashley Baxter (Ind).

There was nothing record-breaking about my own performance in the 10k but earnest people keep reminding me that showing up is more important than winning.

The same is true of the General Election. If people don’t turn up to vote then everyone loses.

Ashley Baxter takes part in the Deepings 10k 2024
Ashley Baxter takes part in the Deepings 10k 2024

The General Election is a massive undertaking for the staff of local authorities who have to organise the finer details. The South Kesteven district includes parts of four separate parliamentary constituencies and our towns and villages will host more than 80 polling stations, each staffed by at least two clerks.

When the polls have closed, each returning officer across the country will be assisted by a staff of hundreds working into the night to verify and count the ballots. The task is long and arduous but it is an essential part of the democratic process.

It is almost a cliché to point out that our right to vote has been hard-won by men and women over many centuries.

Our images of the Chartists, the suffragettes, and the soldiers of two World Wars, have become romanticised over the years but the struggle for the universal franchise was long, bitter and bloody. Women like Mary Ann Rawle of Grantham had to campaign for many years before they were allowed to participate in elections.

Our political systems will never be perfect but as Churchill once said: “Democracy is the worst form of government – except for all the others.”

In my opinion, voting in a General Election is a bit like giving blood. You’re never quite sure if it will make any difference but you know it’s the right thing to do.

It doesn’t feel very ordinary and you have to make a special effort to do it, but at least it doesn’t take very long. In fact, both voting and giving blood take a lot less time and effort than a so-called fun run!

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