Voter fatigue is something we are all feeling at this moment with the EU referendum fast approaching. As important as it is to vote, have elections and referendums finally gotten the better of us?
The 2014 Scottish referendum energised the electorate like never before.
It got debate flowing in pubs, on the streets and around the dinner table.
But I bet as you read that your stomach churned, not because I mentioned dinner, but because the word ‘referendum’ has been used everywhere to the point it is losing its meaning.
Whether politics is something you are passionate about or not, everyone has felt this. I’ve seen far too much of Nigel Farage’s face on TV for my liking -he is genuinely making me think croissants and Bratwurst sausages are trying to steal my job.
If seasoned voting veterans are beginning to become tiresome of polling day, just imagine the situation for those with only a partial interest in politics or no care at all.
Not only have they to endure an endless stream of TV debates, but they get battered into submission with the extra coverage across all mainstream media.
It’s a well-known fact that if you repeat the same thing continuously, people will grow bored. The similarities between the campaigns involved in the Scottish and the EU referendums are striking, and for many, I imagine the use of the exact same arguments are putting people off.
At the end of the day, this simply isn’t viewed as being as important as the decision we had to make in 2014. In fact, it is just as important, but voter fatigue is switching people off to the world of politics.
Many would argue that having so many votes in such a short space of time is a good thing to keep the electorate informed and to peak their interest in politics, but long term it is only going to have a negative impact. Voters will turn their noses up as it all seems too much for the brain to compute.
The significance of the upcoming vote on the EU has flown over the public’s head because their brains have been paralysed by the endless campaigning and canvassing. The political landscape in Scotland is in an exciting era, people young and old are engaged in what is going on at Holyrood and Westminster like never before. Many have become so engaged they stay up all night like political hipsters eagerly anticipating the final count for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch.
Voter fatigue is an animal that takes many forms. Despite this, it’s important to go out and vote. The lack of enthusiasm you feel towards voting is a small price to pay compared to those before you who campaigned for everyone to have a vote.
The timing of a vote on the UK’s future within the EU could have been thought out better, I’m aware it has already been pushed back, but has there really been enough time given for the nation to catch its breath from all the other political madness?
It is important to exercise the right you have to vote, but should polling day really feel like the completion of a triathlon? After the three main events in recent years, I feel like I need a long pre-season.
>>Steven is a second year journalism student at Fife College on a placement with the Fife Free Press.