Youth find vot­ing un­invit­ing

Hamilton Press - - OUT & ABOUT - BEN FLOOD, WINTEC JOUR­NAL­ISM STU­DENT

On­line vot­ing and com­pul­sory civic ed­u­ca­tion could pro­vide the im­pe­tus for more young peo­ple to vote at gen­eral elec­tions.

It comes as Hamil­ton’s poor voter turnout among its youth looks set to con­tinue with just three weeks to go be­fore Ki­wis elect the next gov­ern­ment.

Num­bers from the 2014 gen­eral elec­tion showed only 63 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds liv­ing in Hamil­ton who were en­rolled, ac­tu­ally voted.

Statis­tics also showed that only 53 per cent of this age group was en­rolled to vote for the up­com­ing elec­tion, com­pared to a na­tional av­er­age of 64 per cent.

Waikato Uni­ver­sity stu­dent Sam Kenny, 21, be­lieved the ma­jor­ity of her gen­er­a­tion lacked the po­lit­i­cal knowl­edge and out­look to be able to vote pro­lif­i­cally.

‘‘I think a lot of young peo­ple choose not to vote be­cause they are un­e­d­u­cated about the par­ties and their poli­cies and get caught up in the present, rather than think­ing about the fu­ture,’’ Kenny said.

‘‘If more re­sources were made avail­able to un­der­stand the whole process, that would be great.’’

Kenny said it would be much eas­ier if votes could be sub­mit­ted on­line.

How­ever, for­mer pres­i­dent of the McGil­licuddy Se­ri­ous Party, Mark Ser­vian, said many peo­ple were wor­ried about the se­cu­rity of on­line vot­ing.

Ser­vian in­stead be­lieved in­tro­duc­ing com­pul­sory civic ed­u­ca­tion into the high school cur­ricu­lum would en­cour­age more young peo­ple to vote.

‘‘Peo­ple are leav­ing school without any great un­der­stand­ing of what their role is as a ci­ti­zen and I think civic ed­u­ca­tion is the first step.

‘‘It’s the clos­est thing to a sil­ver bul­let that would make a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence,’’ Ser­vian said.

‘‘Thirty years ago, if you were im­mersed in the me­dia, you had a cer­tain de­gree of train­ing about the po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion be­cause it was plas­tered all over TV One, whereas now there’s thou­sands of medi­ums and peo­ple can pick and choose what they want to see.’’

Mark Ser­vian said civic ed­u­ca­tion was a ‘sil­ver bul­let’ in get­ting young peo­ple to vote.

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