How to get young people in Europe to swipe right on voting

_European Elections 2019_

(Copyright: European Parliament)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Kirsten Salyer, Media Relations Specialist, World Economic Forum


Young people by definition have the most at stake in the future. But in Europe as elsewhere, Millennials are all too often failing to vote. As crunch European Parliament elections approach on May 23-26, the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers community of young leaders are turning to new ideas to lure their peers to the ballot box.

“The thing about politics, for all ages but especially for those who have the majority of their lives ahead of them, is, whether you chose to participate or not, it will impact you and what kind of life you are able to live,” said Sabina Ciofu, 30, a Global Shaper in the Brussels Hub. “How the European project will look and whether it will continue to ensure the basic freedoms and opportunities we currently enjoy are on the line.”

One idea is the VoteSwiper App, a project out of the Munich Hub created to share information about the election and help people make informed decisions. Raising awareness about the parties and the issues is especially relevant to an election with more than 5,000 candidates from about 400 parties.

In the VoteSwiper app, users answer questions about current topics, and then the app matches them with the party that best fits their positions. The app, which had previously been deployed ahead of the German national election, saw 1 million swipes in one day and ranked number 1 in the education category of the Apple App Store in Germany. It has since launched in Austria, Finland and Sweden, with plans to go live in 11 more countries.

“We hope to see millions of Europeans getting informed about their choices before this crucial election,” said Akil Logeswaran, 30, a Global Shaper from the Munich Hub and Project Lead for VoteSwiper. “Once people are informed and play the app like a game, we are convinced that tens of thousands of them will show up in higher numbers to vote for their preferred choice.”

If the youth vote materializes, it has an opportunity to make a bigger difference this year compared to past elections. In the 2014 Parliament elections, which had record low turnout, only 28% of the voters in the 18-24 age group voted, compared to about 51% in the 55+ group.

Image: Politico Europe

This year, facing pressing global changes including technological developments and the rise of populism and nationalism, it is more important than ever for young people to show up to the polls in force, Ciofu said.

Since January, the Brussels Hub, together with other European hubs, has run a social and video media campaign focused on the issues that young people care about, including climate change, education and unemployment. They are also organizing debates with young voters and a WhatsApp campaign for the election to encourage people to vote.

“Young people are fully aware of their power and also of just how crucial this election is,” Ciofu said. “My personal hope is that so many young people will show up this time around that we’ll finally be able to shut up those who say, ‘the youth don’t care.’ We care, we matter, and we’ll show that.”

Young people are also pushing back against the growing threat of polarization and seeking content that challenges, rather than confirms to, their views. The Global Shaper community recently brought together a group of Shapers in Vienna to create and distribute educational videos about the risks of filter bubbles, personalized online echo chambers that occur when algorithms surface content aligned with a user’s online preferences and actions, making it difficult to be exposed to different opinions.

“We hope to bring our society closer together by encouraging citizens to build understanding for different opinions before as well as after they vote,” said Francis Rafal, 27, a Global Shaper in the Vienna Hub. “Thinking long-term, we hope that a less polarized society finds better solutions to today’s problems.”

What is a Global Shaper?

The Global Shapers Community is a network of young people under the age of 30 who are working together to drive dialogue, action and change to address local, regional and global challenges.

The community spans more than 8,000 young people in 165 countries and territories.

Teams of Shapers form hubs in cities where they self-organize to create projects that address the needs of their community. The focus of the projects are wide-ranging, from responding to disasters and combating poverty, to fighting climate change and building inclusive communities.

Examples of projects include Water for Life, a effort by the Cartagena Hub that provides families with water filters that remove biological toxins from the water supply and combat preventable diseases in the region, and Creativity Lab from the Yerevan Hub, which features activities for children ages 7 to 9 to boost creative thinking.

Each Shaper also commits personally and professionally to take action to preserve our planet.

But no matter how young people decide to vote, the most important thing is that they do, Logeswaran said.

“For too long we have let older generations decide about our future,” Logeswaran said. “I don’t let my parents decide which playlists I should listen to, why should they decide about my future? It’s completely up to us to change how we want to live, and that is why it is important to show up and vote!”

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

COP21 Breaking News_07 December: “The world is expecting more from you than half-measures”, UN Secretary General Bank Ki-moon cries out from Paris

The MH17 tragedy to put a tombstone on Ukrainian civil war

European markets itchy with short-term disturbances

ECB is about to lend trillions to banks

How India’s globalized cities will change its future

The US and EU decisively oppose Erdogan’s plans for Turkey and beyond

Ukraine: turning challenges into opportunities


Venezuelan exodus to Ecuador reaches record levels: UN refugee agency steps up aid

Russia to cut gas supplies again: can the EU get back to growth without a solid energy market?

JADE Testimonial #1: Marcello @ Enlargement

Commission challenges Council over EU 2014 budget

Scotland and First Minister Salmond enter the most challenging battlefield for independence: Europe

Eurozone plans return to growth

UN, Egypt help avert another Israel-Palestine war in Gaza that was ‘minutes away’, Security Council hears

Myanmar and UN agriculture agency agree framework to improve nutrition and food security

Electronic or conventional cigarettes – which is safer?

5 surprising ways digital technology is changing childhood

Competing with Apple and leading innovation: Google’s world replies to EU on android charges

Non-performing loans: banks need to mitigate the risk of potential losses

5 amazing schools that will make you wish you were young again

State of the Union 2018: The Hour of European Sovereignty

Libya: Attack on foreign ministry, an attack on all Libyans, stresses UN envoy

Erasmus+ will finance existing UK-EU mobility in the event of no-deal Brexit

5 leadership lessons I learned from doing my own ‘undercover boss’

Pollinating insects: Commission proposes actions to stop their decline

The digital transformation is a skills and education opportunity for all. Companies must use it

Who really cares for the environment?

Capital transaction tax on Ecofin table

Parliament approves EU rules requiring life-saving technologies in vehicles

Migration Crisis: how to open the borders and make way for the uprooted

Eurozone’s north-south growth gap to become structural

On our way to China

China is the first non-EU country to invest in Europe’s €315 billion Plan

Brexit may finally not really happen; The Brits have second thoughts

China revisited by the former Ambassador of Hungary to China

Electronic or conventional cigarettes – which is safer?

Trump to subject the Fed, challenge the ECB and make Wall St. bankers even richer

What the Corn Laws tell us about Brexit Britain

The fat from your next takeaway meal could help clean up global shipping

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is driving Globalization 4.0

The European Sting’s 2018 in most critical review

Why flexible workspaces are the key to winning the talent war

We finally have a life-saving vaccine for Ebola

‘Path to peace’ on Korean Peninsula only possible through diplomacy and full denuclearization: US tells Security Council

Why are wildfires getting worse?

Five ways to increase trust in e-commerce

Trump’s Russophiles under investigation, Europe remains ‘en garde’

Arlington, USA: kick-off of the fifth round of the EU-US boxing match

World Digital Media Awards winners announced at WNMC.19 in Glasgow, in association with The European Sting

We need to deep clean the oceans. Here’s how to pay for it

For Youth Rights: steps forward for better protection.

MWC 2016 LIVE: 5G to trigger disruption, claim industry leaders

Europe split in confronting the US sanctions on Iran, Washington isolated

Ecocraft: take gaming to another level by greening Minecraft

China hopes EU Commissioner De Gucht drops super anti-dumping tariff on solar panels

Trade barriers: EU removes record number in response to surge in protectionism

North Korean families facing deep ‘hunger crisis’ after worst harvest in 10 years, UN food assessment shows

UN chief welcomes new push by El Salvador’s political parties to begin fresh dialogue

UN chief calls for ‘enlightened self-interest’ from world leaders to save ‘the whole planet’ from climate change

We underestimate the power of data at our peril. This is why

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s