SO, the big day has arrived.

We’ve been peppered with a forest of manifestos and propaganda, candidates and their supporters have called round as we shout at the telly during a Euros football match, and party signs pleading for our votes have sprung up like mushrooms around Taunton and Wellington.

Now it’s time for the politicians to take a back seat and our turn to move centre stage as we cast our votes in the General Election.

In keeping with the County Gazette’s proud tradition of impartiality, I’m not going to suggest where you put your X on the ballot paper.

I’m not even going to urge you to visit your local polling station - that’s entirely up to you. (I hope you do though).

A friend told me she’s never voted in her life. “It’s not worth it - they’re all as bad as each other,” was the reasoning behind her self-disenfranchisement.

I wouldn’t agree with that, but it does raise an important point.

We’ve been reminded recently of the courageous people who took part in the D-Day landings that saved the free world from Nazi tyranny 80 years ago.

I’ve heard the argument that we have an obligation to vote as had it not been for their bravery and sacrifice, free elections in this country would have been consigned to history.

But surely the liberties we enjoy thanks to them equally gift us the right not to vote if we so wish.

“OK,” say some, “if you don’t vote, then you can’t complain when the government does something you dislike.” I reckon if you pay your taxes, then you most certainly can criticise our leaders, even if you didn’t vote for or against them.

Forcing people to vote has the advantage of making the result more representative. Supporters believe a ‘one person, one vote’ system strengthens democracies and aligns the actions of politicians with their citizens' preferences.

Among countries where voting has been obligatory are Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Egypt, North Korea and Turkey, although not all of them enforce the rule.

Whatever your view, I’ll be off to my polling station this morning and I’ll stay up into the night to catch the results as they come in.