The Sketch: Normally I wouldn't dream of voting. It just distorts the result

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The Independent Online

Decision day. Fifteen hours to change the world. Did you feel the electricity in the air? Ed Miliband had sent his postal ballot to Doncaster. The very words crackle on the screen as they're typed.

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Whatever the polls say there's always uncertainty at the heart of politics. People don't vote for very many different reasons.

My house is a good example. Normally I just don't vote at all. It distorts the result. Too fastidious you think? Better to be safe than sorry.

But then my son told me he'd defied the example I've set over the years. He's registered at our home address, as well. He'd come home quite pleased with himself.

"My God," I exploded, "they number the ballots, don't you understand! They check you off on a list, they've got your name and address – and they know which way you've voted!"

He couldn't see it but I've been in and around politics for 20 years, I know what these people are like. I thought if I went down and voted the opposite way we could at least plead neutrality as a household when they came for us later.

So – down to the polling station. It was actually in a school so people could vote after they'd dropped their children off. The polling door was right there by the front door of the school but people weren't going in.

Maybe they were on the council housing list. Maybe they feared for their child benefit – or their child – being taken away. Maybe they didn't want to come up on the radar of Her Majesty's Revenue? People have their reasons, as I say, and some are better than others.

I was going to ask the unvoting electorate – on your behalf – why they weren't voting. But outside was a warning: "It is against the law to ask how a voter will or has voted." The penalties were listed as "two years in prison, or an unlimited fine, or both".

Are exit polls now a custodial offence? The chief polling officer at the station couldn't explain it and gave me a phone number which I could ring to denounce Peter Kellner of Yougov (he'd have to ask for 10 million other offences to be taken into consideration). Prudence prevailed. It's safer to keep out of their way.

The voting itself was uneventful. I don't mind AV but it's my second preference. What I want is for people to have one vote – to be cast when they are 50 years old. I explained that briefly on the ballot paper. I think I got away with it.

Conservatives cut Labour lead

The Conservative Party has cut Labour's lead to three percentage points, according to The Independent's latest poll of polls. The weighted average of surveys taken in April by ComRes, ICM, Ipsos Mori and YouGov puts Labour on 39 per cent (down one point on March), the Tories on 36 per cent (unchanged), the Liberal Democrats on 13 per cent (static) and other parties on 12 per cent (up one point).

Although Liberal Democrat support has dropped 10 points since the general election a year ago, the Tories enjoy the same share of votes as then. The latest figures would give Labour a majority of only 26 if repeated at a first-past-the-post election. Labour would win 338 seats, the Tories 262, Liberal Democrats 25 and others 25.

"It is getting close to hung parliament territory," said John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, who compiled the poll. "The Tories continue to be remarkably relatively unscathed."