Six things you can do to get the youth vote out on Thursday
By: Kevin Smith
Date: 6 June 2017
Like the great Whitney Houston, I too believe that the children are the future. So it just seems all wrong that the demographic with the highest percentage of voters (the over 55s) end up having more of a say over issues that are going to impact young people for the longest. Young people tend to support global justice issues, but are also the demographic slice that are the least likely to actually make it to the polling station and put their ballot paper in the box.
So we really need to put special effort in rectifying that imbalance by getting the youth vote out.
Here’s a few practical ideas of what everyone (young and old and in between) can do in the run up to the election to make sure that that all-important youth vote is out there on Thursday.
1) Call people up and speak to them!
There is nothing more persuasive and influential than human contact. If you’re an older person, you could ring up some young people and have a chat about why their vote is really important and would make a difference. When I was crowdsourcing ideas for this, one sixteen-year-old said that making sure that young people understand what’s at stake in this election – that this time it could be seen as being different circumstances, would help influence people.
This calling up strategy shouldn’t be restricted to older people haranguing younger people.Young people should also call their grandparents and parents have a chat with them about which issues they feel are important and how it’s going to affect them in the future long after they have died. Tactfully of course. Election issues are so often designed to appeal to those older voters who are more likely to vote, so young people should make sure that their voices are heard about the issues that are going to have a massive impact on them.
2) Make sure they know where their polling station is and how it all works
Not all young people are familiar with the mechanics of voting so you should remind them that it’s really easy and straight forward. If you’ve registered to vote, then you don’t need your polling card, and you don’t need to have ID – you just need to turn up and give your address. If they don’t know where their polling station is, you can find it with your postcode at https://wheredoivote.co.uk/. Make sure they know how close and accessible the polling station is, and that they’re open all day. It’s easy for people to go before or after work – just don’t leave it until the last minute!
3) Find lots of little ways to encourage them!
There is nothing wrong with offering people material rewards (bribing is such a loaded word) for democratic participation at this stage. Some pubs and breweries are offering a free pint to people who take a selfie outside of the polling station and then show it to them on the 8th or 9th. If there’s no scheme like that near you, maybe you could buy them a pint or cocktail instead? But you could also praise young people on social media for voting, or offer to drive them to the polling station?
4) Get out on the street on Thursday
It’s really important to have as many people out on the street as possible on Thursday to ensure that as many people are voting as possible – ESPECIALLY that elusive youth vote. Find out who is doing what near you… you could take the day off work, or come along before or after work. Maybe you could get involved in Get Out The Vote campaigning on the day at a local university? There’s so much to be done in terms of leafleting, canvassing and physically helping to get people to the polling stations.
5) Young people: Tell your friends you’re voting
If you are already an engaged young person voter, then you have much more power than other people in terms of being able to motivate your friends to vote. You could Whatsapp your friends the night before and remind your mates to vote, or maybe arrange to all go down to vote together and make it a fun, social thing. Take some selfies OUTSIDE the polling stations (not inside the polling booths – that’s illegal!) and share them and let everyone know you’ve voted. Use a hashtag – we’re suggesting #votingforhope. Tag some of your friends and nominate them to vote too.
6) Share some tweets and videos
— NUS UK (@nusuk) June 5, 2017