Making voting matter

Laura O’Connell Rapira has a pretty simple philosophy.

“Everyone should have a nice life,” she tells a small audience at a Wellington bar. “Small actions, multiplied, can lead to big change,” she says.

Laura, 25, outlines her pitch for RockEnrol, a movement to increase youth voter turnout.

The audience is a mix of smartphones and activists wearing knitted jumpers; committed environmentalists and social media addicts.

Laura talks about crowd-funding the campaign, getting musicians and artists on board, and convincing people that government is cool. “I grew up in the age of Paris Hilton and the Kardashians,” she says, and government just isn’t glam.

She describes RockEnrol as a “crowd-fuelled youth-led movement to try and build and activate political power for young people in Aotearoa”.

“We use the cultural mediums that young people are already engaged in to try to make politics more relevant and resonant – so that’s popular culture, music, events, art, things like that.”

The idea is to hold events – gigs, house parties, festivals, a carnival – for which the price of admission is a promise to vote in September’s election. They’ll also be running marketing and education campaigns.

These measures are necessary because fewer than half of 18-29 year olds voted in the last election.Turnout has been declining in much of the world for decades.

New Zealand’s numbers sit in about the middle of the OECD, so there’s no crisis yet.

We’re one of the easiest countries in the world to enrol to vote and cast your ballot. And yet, people are worried about what the decline means for our democracy. Continue reading.

Source: The Wireless

Image: NewsTalkZB

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