Voting begins in General Election
THE East Anglian Daily Times today urges electors across East Anglia to go to polling stations and cast their vote in the General Election.Four years ago more than one million people in Suffolk and north and mid-Essex were eligible to vote in the General Election, but 388,274 decided not to exercise that right and have their say on who governs the country.
THE East Anglian Daily Times today urges electors across East Anglia to go to polling stations and cast their vote in the General Election.
Four years ago more than one million people in Suffolk and north and mid-Essex were eligible to vote in the General Election, but 388,274 decided not to exercise that right and have their say on who governs the country.
In the week that the region commemorates the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War - when hundreds of thousands of men and woman gave their lives to preserve democracy in the face of tyranny - there is a stark reminder the right to vote should be cherished.
The EADT urges electors to use their right today and vote in the General Election - a call that was backed by a range of people across the region.
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Hugh Merriam, an 85-year-old D-Day veteran, said it was "terribly important" for people to vote.
The great-grandfather, from Wickham Skeith, near Eye, said: "It is definitely important to vote, especially when you think that three days afterwards, on May 8, it's the anniversary of VE Day, which was 60 years ago.
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"Hitler was going through Europe, through Belgium, Holland and France, and there's no doubt that he would have come here if he could have done and now things would be very different."
Mr Merriam, who was a captain in the 1st Suffolk Regiment at the time of the D-Day landings in Normandy, added: "I think it's sad that people do not vote, especially the young ones. However, often it's those who complain the most who haven't voted. They also say it's not worthwhile voting as one party is going to win but you never know."
Jack Thain, chairman of Suffolk Pensioners Association, added: "I'm certainly going to be going along to my local polling station and I would advise everybody to do the same - whether young or old.
"Even if you're not certain on who you're going to vote for or even if you don't like any of the candidates - just try and pick the one who is not as bad.
"If you don't vote you have no right to complain because you didn't take part when you had the chance."
Meanwhile Claire Heskans, 18, chairperson for the Young Essex Assembly, said that she was looking forward to being able to vote in her first General Election.
"I think it's important to vote, especially for young people, because a lot of people think that we're apathetic about politics but we do actually take an interest," she added.
"We pay our taxes like everyone else and we want people to represent our views and we should vote for who we want because if you don't vote you can't have a say."
Mike Aston, whose son Russ was killed during the Iraq war and was based at Colchester Garrison, said: "I would urge everyone to vote because it's important for everyone to give their opinion and express how they feel.
"I have no doubt that some people living in areas where there is a large majority will think that there's no point and others will look out their window and see that it's raining and think they can't be bothered but they should have their say."
There will be no excuses for the region's voters not to make their way to the ballot boxes this morning as it is expected to be a bright and dry start to the day.
EADT weatherman Ken Blowers said that it was likely that any rain would hold off so that it was "ideal" conditions for people to turn out and vote.
He added: "Today will be a mainly dry day for the East of England. It will start brightly at first and could possibly become cloudy later but staying dry.
"The highest temperatures will be around 54F or 14C. It's an ideal day for people to turn out and vote."