As people head to the polls today, it's worthwhile reflecting on the importance of democracy and casting your vote.

This General Election looks set to be one of the tightest and most unpredictable in a generation. Most commentators are predicting no party will win an outright majority and the next few days look set to be fascinating as parties try to thrash out deals to form a workable Government.

With so much at stake it is perhaps surprising that campaigning nationally over the past four weeks has seemed to many to be rather lacklustre. Maybe it's because all the parties are getting slicker at stage managing their leader's movements and presentations - but it's shame we have not seen a bit more drama on the campaign trail.

That said, the last ten days have seen some big hitters in our area, including David Cameron (twice), Nick Clegg, George Osbourne, Theresa May and Andy Burnham, which has helped draw the region further into the national debate.

Locally, the electorate do seem to be engaged. There have been numerous hustings events held, including 250 people (with others on the waiting list) attending The Westmorland Gazette's Westmorland and Lonsdale pre-election debate at Kendal College.

Today and overnight the Gazette will be running a live blog on our website, which will allow you to follow every twist and turn at the counts at Kendal, Penrith, Lancaster and Barrow. And you can also get involved on Twitter using #wgelection

It can seem strange that parties can rule even when more people in total voted for other parties. But as Winston Churchill famously said: "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."

People do not have the right to complain about the government if they have not got involved in the democratic process.

That is why it is so vital that everyone votes today - to play their part in the drama and, more importantly, in shaping the country's future.