Unless voters actually bother to vote, this referendum may be decided by mere turnout alone


Beware! Tuesday marked 100 days until you decide whether to leave or remain as a member of the EU. This means that very soon all you are going to hear about is the campaign. Remember BBC 1 viewers complaining about EastEnders being moved to accommodate extra election coverage in May? Well, this time it may just be worse.

I lived in a safe Tory seat during the election, and didn’t see one campaigner out on the streets or at any public event. If it wasn’t for the TV, I wouldn’t have know there was an election until May 7th.

This referendum however will be different from previous elections — incredibly different, actually. Yes, there will be ‘safe’ areas for the remain vote, and safe areas for the leave vote, but because in the referendum each and every vote counts, there will not be areas immune from the campaigns and unravelling chaos on television. In the upcoming months my little village of Scotton may just know about the referendum.

Last Saturday Get Britain Out, a cross-party group aiming at mobilising turnout and support for Brexit at the grassroots level, held a ‘day of action’. Thousands of volunteers took to Britain’s streets to persuade you, the voters. They aim to do this again too, promising a group of volunteers in every constituency.

BREXIT campaigners know that for them to win they are going to need to persuade parts of the electorate who haven’t voted before so they actually make that necessary trip to the polling station. For this to work they are going to need groups like GO, to mobilise these voters. Recent turnout patterns favour the BREXIT side. Older voters are more likely to vote than the younger parts of the electorate, and the older electorate are more likely to vote for withdrawal from the EU. Furthermore, a vote for change is more attractive to ‘lazy’ voters than a vote to remain.  The theory is: lazy voters, if they vote at all, are more likely to vote out.

I hope that the referendum won’t be decided on the basis of a lazy vote, that would be sad. It’s up to you, to persuade your family and friends to vote, and to turn up yourself, otherwise such an important vote may indeed be decided by mere turnout.


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