Voting in the general election
36% OF YOUTHS WON’T VOTE IN THE GENERAL ELECTION – 3 IN 4 WOULD IF THEY COULD VOTE BY TEXT The UK’s leading mobile phone price comparison website http://www.rightmobilephone.co.uk/ has conducted research of 1,082 young people aged 18-25 and found that 36% of the respondents aren’t planning to vote in the general election this year, but 3 in 4 of those said they would if they could do so via text message or social media. When asked, ‘are you planning to vote in the general election this year?’ more than a third said they wouldn’t. 42% claimed they didn’t really understand politics enough to vote, whilst 51% said they couldn’t be bothered to take the time to go to the polling stations. The remaining 7% said they thought their vote wouldn’t make a difference, therefore deeming it unnecessary. Of those who were planning to opt out of the general election vote this year, 76% said they would be more likely to take part if they could place their vote via text or social media, such as a Facebook page or on Twitter. Two thirds of the respondents, 66%, said that they had placed votes on a reality TV show in the past using their mobile, which was a higher number than the percentage who said they would be voting for the general election this year. Of those who would vote if they could do so by text or through social media, 19% weren’t concerned about privacy issues and other people finding out who they had voted for. 24% said there could be issues with people voting more than once, but this was a concern that didn’t stop 89% of the total respondents saying they thought voting via text would be possible after the next General Election. Neil McHugh, co-founder of rightmobilephone.co.uk, said; “As our results prove social media and mobile phones could be a very powerful way for political parties to interact and communicate with this generation. Twitter, Facebook and YouTube weren’t as established in previous elections, but now provide a far reaching platform for any political party who are savvy enough to include them in their election strategy. As for voting via your mobile phone, the concept is great but I think we are a few years away yet. Obviously privacy and security issues would be a concern along with the margin for error, but hopefully in the future it’s something that can be overcome and get more of the population making a difference.” Alberto Nardelli, founder of Tweetminster.co.uk, a service which aims to make politics more transparent by giving users access to the Twitter posts from MPs and politicians, said; “In the US, mobile campaigning played a central role in the past election, especially in terms of engaging and mobilising first time voters. It’s surprising than in the UK none of the parties place mobile at the core of their campaigns, more importantly in a context where young voters and first-time voters can be decisive, it will be interesting to see which party first experiments with mobile”.