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14 May 2014

To the polling stations?

To the polling stations?

As the nation heads to the polls next Thursday it seems many don't know who they will vote for or may not vote at all. The European Union (EU) is a hugely influential body and everyday its policies directly impact British people. Despite this only 43 per cent of British voters showed up to vote at the last election.

This perhaps reflects common held views that the European Union is overly complex, difficult to understand, and disconnected or irrelevant to Britons.

Given the influence the EU has on everyday life it is hugely important that voters actively engage. Voting is a crucial way for people to have their say and hold the European Parliament and MEPs to account.

The Evangelical Alliance believes in having a strong and engaged political process and for this reason is encouraging people to show up and vote. The Alliance has produced a European Elections 2014 guide which aims to explain the complex structure of the European Union and provides links to information so that voters can make an informed decision about who they will vote for. It includes some fun videos too.

It can be easy to think that one vote doesn't matter; that voting doesn't effect change. We only need to look at countries which don't have free and fair democratic elections to know this isn't true.

For the first time voters have the chance to not only choose their MEP but to have a direct say in the election of the next President for the EU's executive body, the European Commission. This is because for the first time the European election results will be taken into account.

These elections also give voters the chance to express their views about the EU's management of the Eurozone crisis and the direction the next European parliament should go in setting the rules in the Eurozone and the single market.

The next Parliament will significantly influence the future direction of the EU. The election result will also impact greatly on national political parties in the UK and the upcoming 2015 general election.

Public opinion may be divided about the role of the EU in Britain, the system may be flawed and voters may struggle to see the relevance to their own lives but it's still important to get out and vote.

President Obama explained so well the importance in engaging with the political process when he said: "I always believe that ultimately, if people are paying attention, then we get good government and good leadership. And when we get lazy, as a democracy…then it results in bad government and politics."

Showing up to vote is an important way for Britons to engage with the EU, to make their voice heard and to ultimately contribute to good government. 

Previous published article on the European elections