Youth find voting uninviting
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.