The (UK) General Election: Make Your Vote Count

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Friday 24th April 2015

On May 7th, people across the United Kingdom will head to the polls and elect their representatives in the Westminster Parliament. This is one of the chances that we have as voters to influence the laws, policies and decisions that impact on our lives. Now that the deadline to register to vote has passed, and with only a couple of weeks to go until the election, this is the time to be thinking about how you will use your vote.

What are the issues?

Decisions made in Westminster impact on the lives of people with HIV, on how sexual health is understood and acted on, and on the levels of stigma and discrimination in our society. HIV Scotland and the National AIDS Trust have published five Election Asks.

Several of these relate to devolved areas: things that are discussed and decided for Scotland in the Holyrood Parliament, the next election for which is in 2016. However, your vote is still important. Many of the decisions made at Westminster still apply to Scotland, and even those decisions not directly relevant to Scotland will have repercussions for what happens here.

Who can I vote for, and what will they do?

One way to learn about the candidates in your area is on websites like yournextmp.com. This lets you enter your postcode and find the names, and links to the websites and social media pages, of the candidates standing in your area. You might also see leaflets being put through your door, or meet campaigners out and about in your local area.

You can find out where candidates stand on different issues by getting in touch with them, or talking to those campaigning on their behalf. Most candidates are stand on behalf of political parties. These parties publish manifestos, detailing the policies they would pursue in parliament. We took a look at the main manifestos to see how their policies measured up to our election asks.

How do I vote?

If you registered to vote by April 20th, you will receive a polling card in the mail. This will tell you which polling station to go to. Polling stations are open from 7am to 10pm. This is your chance to make your voice heard on the issues that matter to you, and that affect people living with or at risk of HIV in Scotland.

Your vote is only counted if you cast it – don’t forget to vote on May 7th.