Millennials aren’t voting – but these young leaders have a plan to change that

MIllenials

(Simon Maage, Unsplash)

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?

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

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

A European young student speaks about the Youth Policies of the European Commission

The Sichuan Province of China presents its cultural treasure to the EU

UN chief welcomes possibility of resumed talks between US and North Korea

Why Italy will not follow the Greek road; Eurozone to change or unravel

Ebola Outbreak in Democratic Republic Congo is ‘largely contained’: WHO

Why do thousands of migrants need to be drowned for Brussels to wake up?

EU’s Finance Ministers draft plan to raise tax bills of online giants like Google and Amazon

Central Africa: Security Council concerned by ‘grave security situation’, calls for better agency cooperation

How the United States is falling in love with secondhand clothes

Taking fast road to ‘e-mobility’ central to a sustainable future: COP24

‘Catastrophic’ healthcare costs put mothers and newborns at risk

Egyptian death sentences a ‘gross miscarriage of justice’: UN human rights chief

Austrian Presidency priorities discussed in committees

Human rights are everyone’s business, amid relentless crises around world: UN’s Bachelet

Three ways the world must tackle mental health

Music is a vital urban resource. How do we plan for it?

EU: Tax evasion and fraud flourish under political protection

Syrians still living on ‘razor edge’ as UN launches $8.8 billion dollar appeal

New study shows close link between GVCs participation and economic development

International Day of the Midwife: 5 things you should know

Time is running out to protect Africa’s forests

Finland, Switzerland and New Zealand lead the way at teaching skills for the future

EU to spend €6 billion on youth employment and training futile schemes

Security Council gravely concerned by Ebola outbreak in DR Congo, demands immediate end to violence hampering response

There is huge talent in the world’s refugee camps. We must realize this overlooked potential

Property regimes for international couples in Europe: new rules apply in 18 Member States as of today

A conceptual approach to Violence Against Healthcare in Turkey from SDG’s

Measuring consumer confidence isn’t useful anymore. Here’s what we should do instead

4 radical shifts required to achieve universal health coverage worldwide

How to future-proof India’s economy

There’s a global learning crisis and it’s leaving millions without basic skills

This is how attitudes to vaccines compare around the world

Hopes for Palestinian State hit by ‘facts on the ground’ : senior UN official

When it comes to envirotech adoption, NGOs can lead us out of the woods

SMEs are driving job growth, but need higher investment in skills, innovation and tech to boost wages and productivity

UN rights chief ‘strongly’ condemns ‘shocking’ mass executions in Saudi Arabia

These forms of exercise are best for your mental health

5G will redefine entire business models. Here’s how

Haiti stands ‘at the crossroads’ between peacekeeping, development – Bachelet urges strengthened ‘human rights protection’

DR Congo: Ebola response resumes despite ‘risky environment’

Europe turns out more jobs this summer

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: Bicycles for the environment, new leader for the UN General Assembly, UN values, Ebola, Syria and Libya

Thursday’s Daily Brief: dire living conditions in Idlib, migrants at US southern border, end in sight for trachoma, Human Rights Council

If airlines were a country they’d be one of the world’s top 10 greenhouse gas emitters

MWC19 Wrap Up, in association with The European Sting, GSMA’s Brussels Media Partner for the 6th Consecutive Year

Here’s how to make ‘value-based healthcare’ a reality

‘Ghost fishing’ is threatening our oceans. Here’s how we can tackle it

Schools must look to the future when connecting students to the internet

EU economy: Between recession and indiscernible growth

EU tourism industry expects a new record year in 2014

North-east Nigeria displacement crisis continues amid ‘increased sophistication’ of attackers, warns UN

Mental health: a medical school’s demand

How Eurozone consumers spend their income when they have one…

Portugal: Budget MEPs back €4.66 m in job-search aid for 730 redundant workers

Erasmus+: an expected budget of €3 billion to be invested in young Europeans and to help create European Universities in 2019

Indigenous peoples ‘lag behind on all social and economic indicators’: UN deputy human rights chief

Eliminating waste at scale – eight opportunities for blockchain

The US-Mexico trade deal a threat for others, Trump to single out China, Europe

We can decide to live within the limits of our planet

7 ways for businesses to capture the youth dividend

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