Acceptable reasons not to vote – (Warning – not to be taken too seriously!)
Once you get over the idea that it is every Christian’s duty to think about the issues that concern him or her, and to vote accordingly, one has to accept that there are people or groups who can not vote, or situations where this might be difficult. Some excuses are going to be a bit more tenuous than others, however.
Some dubious excuses for not voting
- Leave going to the polling station as late as possible, and then discover your car won’t start.
- Be unable to find the key to the garage so you can’t get your bike out.
- Go up the pub, and forget the time.
- Have a deadline for an essay or an assignment or a dissertation to hand in on polling day at 10pm, and leave it all to the last minute.
- Be a part-time fireman or lifeboatman and get called out late on the Thursday evening before you have got to the polling station.
- Lose your polling card and not know where the polling station is (pathetic).
More acceptable excuses for not voting.
What of more mundane reasons for not voting? We will be away on polling day – my daughter will be in charge of a polling station for the day, her husband will be in Inverness for the week, so we are babysitting. But we have sorted out a postal vote, so no problem there, then. But I know someone who will be in Australia on May 7th. He has sorted out a postal vote as well, but it will not arrive until after he has left. He has worked out that there is no chance of getting it forwarded out to him, completed, and then posted back in time to count.
Absolute Cast-iron Excuses for not voting.
There are some unimpeachable reasons for not voting, that can not be argued with:
The Reigning Monarch – (please stand to attention when reading this bit)
This at the moment is Queen Elizabeth II. I am 61 years old, and she came to the throne before I was born, so you really are not very observant if you have not noticed her. For this reason, too, asking not to have to vote because you are the Queen could be fraught with difficulties:
- Most people will know what the Queen looks like.
- People of the male gender might find this approach particularly difficult, especially if bearded.
Incidentally, the Queen is not specifically forbidden in law from voting, but it would be unconstitutionally unacceptable for her to do so, because she is part of the legislature.
Members of the Queen’s immediate family also refrain from voting, in case they embarrass her! They do on occasion seem to find other ways of doing that, anyway.
Being a Member of the House of Lords.
If you have been ennobled, you can not vote in parliamentary elections. If you are looking for a solid reason to avoid voting, however, it might be a bit late to try and organise this. You normally have to have done something of particular note to achieve this, though, like win the football World Cup or write lots of successful musicals, so it might not be a route open to most of us, anyway.
Members of the House of Lords can vote in local or European elections, however, so if you are looking to avoid voting at every opportunity, this would be an incomplete solution.
Being in Prison.
Prisoners are not allowed to vote, unless they are just on remand. It might be a bit difficult, though, to commit a crime, get arrested, tried and imprisoned in just the few days before an election. It might also be considered a somewhat extreme measure.Even if you were to get a court date, there would be the possibility that
- A good brief might get you off.
- Your previously good character might find you getting just community service or a suspended sentence. (particularly, of course, if you are a person of faith!)
- Even if you are “banged to rights”, the jury might get it wrong.
And if you were a prisoner on remand, you might well have other things on your mind, such as organising your defence, or adjusting to Prison Life, or coming to terms with the idea that you had not excluded yourself from the right to vote, if that was your intention.
Having been convicted of fraud in connection with an election within the last 5 years.
A bit late to do this for the 2015 general election, but it might work for the next one, if it doesn’t happen until 2020.
Not having the Capacity to Vote
There is another possible means of exclusion around “not having the capacity to vote”, but what you have to do to be able to benefit from this I do not know. I would suggest it might be a bit of a tortuous one to benefit from. I was always under the impression that being “mad” meant you couldn’t vote, in days when views on such things were probably a lot less clear. But my doctor daughter, who is currently in a Psychiatry module as part or her GP training, tells me that being sectioned does not deprive you of the right to vote.
There have been concerns expressed over the last few days about people with learning difficulties not being allowed to vote at the polling station (not particularly funny, that bit). But that does mean that you might have to turn up to the polling station to be able to use this excuse…… so it isn’t worth it.