Does my vote matter?

University of Leeds
3 min readJun 19, 2024


Have you ever wondered if one vote can make a difference? When a big election looms, it can be easy to question whether your voice matters, but every election is an opportunity to make a difference, and every vote counts.

In fact, students and young people have a lot of pull when it comes to politics.

Did you know that less than half of eligible voters under 25 voted in the 2019 General Election? That was the lowest turnout of any age group: thousands of people who didn’t use their voice.

And did you know that students make up 21.6% of the Leeds Central constituency? If all of those students turned up and voted, think of the impact it could have.

If you’re still not convinced that it’s important to get out on election day, we’ve pulled together some common reasons why people don’t vote to give you confidence that your vote really does make a difference.

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

“There’s no point in voting, all the parties are the same”

Do you care about:

  • Mental health support
  • How the NHS is funded
  • Net zero targets
  • Minimum wage

These are just a few of the issues where the main parties are divided on their policies and priorities. If you feel strongly about any of these issues, look up the party manifestos and find out who most aligns with your views.

It’s normal to find that you don’t agree with every pledge or commitment made by a party — you can’t fully agree on everything! But by deciding which issues matter the most to you, you can make an informed choice about who to vote for.

“I don’t want to support any of the parties, so I’m just not going to vote”

There are many ways to exercise your democratic right, and one of these is spoiling your ballot paper. If you don’t agree with any of the available candidates, you can show this through spoiling your ballot paper by using a mark other than a cross, marking a cross against multiple candidates, writing something on your paper, or just leaving your voting paper blank.

Spoilt ballots are an important part of democracy. The number of spoiled ballots is recorded at each election and is a way of communicating your feelings. If you just stay home on election day, you’re not contributing meaningfully. Spoiling your ballot sends a message.

“My constituency is a ‘safe’ seat, so my vote doesn’t make a difference”

‘Safe’ seats are those where the incumbent party (i.e. the party who won the last election) has such a big vote share that it’s pretty likely that they’ll stay in power. Usually in safe seats, there doesn’t tend to be much campaigning, and people can be more complacent with a lower turnout.

If your constituency (i.e. the area where you’re registered to vote) is a safe seat, you might feel like there’s not much point in voting. However, polls aren’t always accurate, and nothing is certain until the votes are counted on election day. Imagine if you didn’t vote, and the party you support lost the election! You — and people like you — could have made a difference.

As a student, you can register to vote at both your ‘home’ and ‘term-time’ address (if these are different for you). You might find that one constituency is a safe seat, while the other is much more marginal. By choosing which one to vote in, you can maximise the impact of your vote.

Democracy is about collective action: by voting, you’re playing your part in society. No matter what you put on your ballot on election day, you’re using your voice to make a difference. Register to vote now and find your nearest polling station.