Scottish election 2021: Here's what to say to someone who isn't going to vote – Steve Cardownie

Scotland goes to the polls tomorrow to determine who will sit in the Scottish Parliament for the next four years.

A sizeable number have already exercised their right to vote and have posted their preferences to the returning officer, with those cast at polling stations being counted over Friday and Saturday when the political complexion of the new Parliament will become known.

I will go to my local polling station with my youngest son who has just turned 16 and we will cast our votes then.

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I have always made a point of voting on the day (with or without my polling card, which is not necessary) and will continue to do so – I mention the polling card because I have lost count of the number of people who have told me in the past that they could not vote because they had lost it.

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Unfortunately there are still many who will choose not to participate in tomorrow’s election and will rely on well-worn cliches and excuses for not doing so.

They will not make the effort to participate in the process but will not be slow to criticise the actions of the incoming government if needs be. However participating in an election lends legitimacy to critical debate – and not voting risks forfeiting the right to comment.

A quote by American actor and activist Jesse Williams is particularly appropriate in this instance: “If someone says ‘democracy is a sham, those people don’t speak for me’, you say ‘vote’. If someone says ‘I was making a statement by not voting’, then you say, ‘well I can’t hear it.’”

Votes in the Scottish Parliament elections are due to be counted on Friday and Saturday (Picture: Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

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