A country that played a pivotal role in equal rights of voting, unfortunately has thousands of its youth who simply could not care less!
Votes by Kiwi youth have been dwindling each year by four per cent, and at this rate of decline, we’re looking at less than 10 per cent of youth voting within the next three elections. Your vote is your voice and in the previous election, a whopping, 60 per cent of young people chose to be silent.
Fortunately, initiatives supported by the Virgin Voter Collective are shining a ray of hope on these dreary statistics.
Virgin Voter Collective is a campaign that branches over several independent initiatives all with the same goal, which is to get youngsters to vote in the upcoming elections. Basically they are a one-stop shop for young voters!
Some of the initiatives that are part of campaign include On the Fence, Ask Away and Candidate. All three use a youth focused approach to attract first-time voters.
On the Fence is a fun app which gives users an idea of the political policies held by different parties.
Similarly, Candidate delivers the policies to voters who do not want to or do not know how to search the different political promises by the various parties. Candidate uses a simple Tinder-like approach where the user can swipe to the right or left depending on whether or not they agree to a policy, before the app calculates an appropriate political ‘date’ for the user to vote for.
Ask Away is slightly different, as it is a platform, which gives people the confidence to fire off questions to politicians about policies and promises. Ask Away has been quite popular, with several politicians frequently answering questions posted by young voters.
Hannah Duder is the campaign manager for Virgin Voter Collective as well as the creator of the Candidate app. She said the campaign is basically finding new ways to appeal to the youth.
“We don’t think each individual initiative will solve the problem by itself, which is why we’ve created the Collective…Each one offers something different to spark an interest.”
Ms Duder said political apathy amongst youth is partly due to politicians not using the right approach in their communication with young Kiwis. She said most of the language used is jargon-filled and youngsters find it boring because they simply cannot relate.
Hence through the several initiatives represented by the Virgin Voter Collective, the campaign aims to give youth a taste of politics and help them take an interest in it.
“Hopefully when they vote, the youth feel slightly more educated and like they’re making a vote that is not just based on how cool a political party’s name is or something!” Ms Duder said.
Already the campaign as well as its individual initiatives, has received thousands of positive responses from young people who have pledged to vote in the upcoming elections.
If you are a first-time voter and want to make the serious world of politics fun, get involved by checking out http://www.virginvotercollective.co.nz
The website will provide you with more details on the apps and initiatives that you can use to help you take your first step into politics.
By Anuja Nadkarni