THERE are 14 billion reasons why you should go out and vote in tomorrow's Assembly elections.

The Assembly controls a £14 billion budget and key aspects of your everyday life - the Welsh health service, the education of your children, and social services.

This is your chance to have a say in how these are delivered.

Assembly members and the Assembly's officers are funded from the public purse - your taxes.

So this is also a key chance to have a say in how and upon whom your hard-earned cash is spent.

It's time we learned an important lesson and got involved.

The turnout in the last Assembly elections was less than 40 per cent of the electorate. For those of us who chose not to vote, it was no good moaning about the policies which the Assembly government implemented after the fact.

The chance to change them had gone.

You may think the Assembly is 'boring'. You may think all the politicians are the same.

But you have never had a wider choice from which to choose your Assembly members.

In the South Wales East regional list alone, there are 61 candidates from 11 different parties and one independent.

In the constituencies in Gwent, there are 31 candidates from six different parties plus independents.

Party policies differ, but all parties have one thing in common - they would urge you to get out and vote tomorrow.

In this area, we know all about the battle for democracy.

The Chartist Uprising of 1839, battling for key freedoms like the right for every man to have a vote, had a bloody end outside Newport's Westgate Hotel.

People have fought and died for your right to play a part in this country's democratic process.

This newspaper will never tell you how to use your vote. All we will ask is that you do use it.

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The Argus will have full coverage of the Assembly election results in Friday's paper. We will also have updates right through the night on Thursday on this website as soon as the results are declared.