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Saturday, 9 June, 2001, 08:43 GMT 09:43 UK
So did they actually vote?

Albert Peck outside his local polling station
There have been mixed results for our efforts over the last few weeks to do something positive about voter apathy.

Instead of moaning about how little people cared about this general election, BBC News Online users have put their e-mails where their mouths are.

Over the month of the election campaign, we have been inviting you to persuade people who had not been intending to vote that they really should.

Many hundreds of e-mails, and many very strong arguments were put forward. Some of our candidates were actually persuaded. But did they actually go through with it and vote?


But Albert spoilt his paper
Albert Peck , 24, pictured above, a computer programmer from Southampton, was persuaded that so many people had died for our right to vote, that it was his duty.

But things didn't turn out quite as expected.

"Like I promised, I sat down and thoroughly read all the leaflets which the parties sent round. None of them appealed to me, except the UK Independence Party - and even that didn't sway me enough to make me want to support them.

"All the parties seem to be engaged in a propaganda war with each other. So I went along to the polling station and spoilt my ballot in protest at they way they have behaved."


Another Albert, Albert Atkin, a PhD student from Sheffield, was the most resolute of all those who took part in Persuade Me to Vote. Right from the start he said he was having nothing to do with it, saying he didn't want any of the parties to represent him.

And so his position remained, until the morning of polling, when lo and behold, he changed his mind.

"It was one of the e-mails which came in which said my vote would not be wasted if we had proportional representation. That really pricked my conscience, because I think it's the way round the problem I've got with the constitution as it is. The more I thought about it, the more I thought my reason for not voting was quite weak.

"So off I went and voted. I've quite surprised myself, really."


Ahmad Alam, a 32-year-old computer scientist from Manchester, said he was still undecided after your efforts to make him vote. But he did promise to think again about it.

He rethought it, and decided not to vote - right up until the last minute.

On Thursday morning, he said: "It feels as if having been given a votes makes people feel happy and like they've equal rights. But looking around me, that's not the case. I don't feel that it's right to vote until there's more equality. "

But he thought it through again, and made a last minute switch.

"I was quite sure that I was not going to vote. However later in the day, I managed to overcome my bitterness towards the system, and felt that I did owe my vote to the local MP, Gerald Kaufman, who did go out of his to help us at one point, and I did vote in the end."


Janet Hanton, a pub landlandy from North Yorkshire, said she was refusing to vote as a protest against modern politicians. Even after your e-mails, including one from a Briton living in Zambia who said she would love the right to vote - which Janet confessed made her feel very guilty.

But she stayed resolute, determined that she would not go to the polling station - even though it is just two minutes' walk from her house.

"I'm definitely not going to vote - I feel as strongly as I did before, but perhaps even more so. Those politicians are just lying through their teeth - I wish I got their wages."


Simon Whiteley, a student at Hull University, was persuaded that he should vote by the argument that people take democracy for granted. But his new resolution was frustrated by events.

He returned to Hull to get some work over the summer to pay the rent, but says he can't afford a train ticket back home to Doncaster to vote. And the deadline for postal votes had already passed.

"If I was able to go and vote, I definitely would. I'm really annoyed about it - it's a complete pain. There must be thousands of other students who, like me, would like to vote but aren't going to be able to."


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