A post by volunteer Amber Greenall-Heffernan
In the build up to the General Election on the 7th May, we have been asking visitors to share their voting memories in the Election! exhibition here at the People’s History Museum. We have had a variety of responses, and visitors have shared memories such as voting in the EEC referendum in 1975, students in university celebrating the election result in 1997 and even bumping into exes at the polling station!
A handful of people seem disillusioned, saying they have never voted and believe it doesn’t change anything, but overall the responses have been positive. Many visitors consider voting to be a democratic right and have written about the importance of having a vote in a democracy. One visitor believed that voting is a right we take for granted when others are risking their lives across the world to have a vote and another said that everyone has the right to be able to say how we live together in a society.
A common theme running through the responses is the sacrifices that groups such as the Chartists and Suffragettes made for the right to vote. Michael Carter, pictured, explains why he will be voting this year:
“Due to the suffragette movement and in particular Emily Davison, who stepped in front of King George V’s horse at the Epsom Derby in 1913 in favour of women receiving the vote, I consider it a privilege and a necessity to vote. One lady lost her life for the chance to have her say therefore in memory of her I must vote.”
In our exhibition, we have also been asking if people will be voting in the General Election this year and why. Again, a lot of people have responded with exercising the right to vote because of the historic struggle for voting rights. But what is also interesting is the overwhelming response from young people who are not old enough to vote but wish that they could, as well as the excitement from first-time voters.
What are your voting memories? Will you be voting in this year’s General Election and why?