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Thursday, 31 May, 2001, 10:52 GMT 11:52 UK
'I'm not voting and that's final'
Nice try, but your hundreds of e-mails were not enough to persuade avowed non-voter Janet Hanton to change her mind. She remains committed to staying at home on polling day.
Every eligible voter has the right to opt out and not vote at all. Indeed some, like Janet Hanton, argue it is a fundamental democratic right.
Pub landlady Janet, 57, was the sixth candidate in BBC News Online's Persuade Me to Vote series.
She had pledged not to vote in the general election because of her disillusionment with all politicians. And despite your efforts to convince her otherwise, Janet has refused to budge. She will not be voting on 7 June.
According to some estimates, up to 13 million people will shun the ballot box on general election day. If true, this year's number of stay-at-homes would be abnormally high.
Why I won't be voting, by Janet Hanton:
"I've come to the conclusion all MPs are just a bunch of liars who never do what they say they will. They're like spoilt children in a playground, name-calling their opponents and never admitting that they might be wrong or that someone on the other side actually has a good idea.
"I've lived in this village for 19 years but I've never seen our MP here in all that time. Last November we had floods, but you never saw a politician [in the village] then.
"We've got lots of other problems. The schoolhouse has closed, the last bus to Doncaster leaves at 4.30 in the afternoon, the nearest shop is six miles away. But they're not interested.
"I've come to realise that politicians make lots of promises but they never keep them. If I promised to cook you a meal at the pub and you paid for it and then you didn't get it, I'd have holy hell to pay."
Some of your comments and Janet's responses:
Janet: "If that's what he believes then good for him, but I don't agree. I think you scream and shout but I still don't think anything is going to happen."
Janet: "I've chosen not to vote this time as a protest against politicians. I would turn it around and say the people going to vote are not really thinking. They just do it out of habit. They're the lemmings, throwing themselves off a cliff. If more people registered their protest by not voting it might shake them up."
Janet: Well, at least you've had leaflets. With only a week to go until polling day still no one has bothered coming here, not even to drop a leaflet through our door.
Janet: "Vote against my MP? From my experience, none of them have done any good. I suppose the problem is, it's a forgone conclusion. This is a rock-solid Labour area."
Janet: "It's not an easy decision, after all, I've vote in all the previous elections. But in a democracy it's as much a right not to vote as to vote. No one is going to march me down to the polling station."
Janet: "What she's saying is true. It is on my conscience. But I'm not saying I'm never going to vote in the future."
Janet: "We don't have any smaller parties standing here. Outside of the big three the only other option is an independent candidate, and I'll be honest, I'm not sure I trust him either."
Janet: "I think you'll find that I'm not alone here, that the turnout at this election will be the lowest in history. Maybe that will make the politicians realise there are thousands of people out here who are very, very annoyed. And that, in the future, if there are going to make promises they'll have to keep them."
Janet's verdict: "I'm still definitely not voting. I hope others will do the same as me. It's not laziness or apathy, it's a very definite protest."
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