Making a pencilled cross on a piece of paper isn’t such a big deal; yet, when I vote, it always makes me feel great. I live in a country where it’s allowed; where it actually makes a difference. Nobody can tell me how to vote. Nobody can know how I voted.
It’s not difficult. Get your polling card (although you actually don’t need it) and go to the polling station given on it. You can ignore the people outside; they are party representatives trying to work out how many of their supporters have voted. (I always politely just say “no” when they ask me.) They CANNOT by law ask you how you vote. Go inside, give your card to the nice person behind the desk. They will give you a ballot paper. Go to the booth, make a simple cross against the name of your chosen candidate with the pencil provided. Resist the temptation to write or draw something rude. Fold the paper, put it in the box. Thank the nice person behind the desk (not obligatory, but it’s a thankless job). Go out, ignore the canvassers again and go for a coffee (not obligatory).
That’s it. Simples. Of course, that doesn’t have to be the end for another five years. You can get involved, write, campaign, etc. More on this later. (No groaning at the back there.)
Oh, and if you still aren’t decided, pick the candidate whose policies you dislike the least.
People died for the vote. I cannot get out of my head the image of South Africans queueing for hours in the sun to vote after the end of apartheid. Don’t let apathy win.
Note: There is a good article for first time voters here: BBC News- What can you NOT do in a polling station?