I like voting. I like the walk to the polling station, even if it’s raining. I like seeing others heading the same way. I like wondering who they’re voting for. I like how serious their faces look. I like the sense of being part of something bigger and something important.
I like the fact that you don’t have to prove who you are. I like the trust it signifies and what that suggests about our society. As my name is crossed off, I like sneaking a look at the list to see if next door has voted yet.
I like the booth and the stubby pencil. I like the list of candidates and wondering why some of them bothered to stand but not send me a leaflet. I like the moment of hesitation when I wonder if I really want to vote for the party that I decided weeks ago to support. I like remembering that in 1997 I changed my mind in the booth itself. I like worrying whether I have put the cross in the wrong box and then double checking and triple checking. I like folding the piece of paper and putting it in the box. I like the ritual and the simplicity of it all. I like the hope that it might lead to something better.
I don’t like the electoral system. I don’t like that my vote won’t make much difference because of the constituency I live in. I often don’t like the choices others make and the overall result. But I hope I respect their decisions, even if it doesn’t feel like that in the early hours of the morning, watching the results come in and feeling the hope drain away.
But, still, I like the fact that I get to vote at all. And I like to think that I’ll never take it for granted. I like to think that I’ll always remember that voting is our right but also a privilege to treasure.