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Electoral Commission Partners with Weve for Mobile Campaign

Tim Maytom

houses of parliament big ben london poppiesThe UK's Electoral Commission has partnered with Weve, the collaborative project by EE, O2 and Vodafone, to launch a campaign that aims to get young people to register to vote.

Since 1964, the number of voters aged 18 to 24 in general elections has fallen from a high of 76 per cent to a low of 38 per cent in 2005. In the last general election, less than half of all 18 to 24 year olds voted, and political parties have traditionally struggled to engage younger voters.

However, with 85 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds owning or having ready access to a smartphone, a mobile campaign is ideally suited to encourage young people to register for voting, particularly given that registration can now be carried out online.

The campaign will aim to drive people to register via their phones and remind them of the deadline of 20 April as the final point to register in time for this year's general election on 7 May. Currently, there are an estimated 7.5m people who aren't correctly registered at their current address, with young people have more likely to be unregistered.

"Registering to vote is now easier than ever," said Michael Abbott, head of campaigns at the Electoral Commission. "For the first time in the run up to a general election people can use their smartphones to go online and register to vote, so it makes sense to use that same technology to remind young people they can do this.

"We know young people are less likely to be registered to vote than older people, so it's vital that we use innovative methods to communicate with them."

The campaign will include geo-location elements that will focus activity around some of the UK's largest university campuses, and will include information in Welsh and English for Welsh customers. The voting registration site has been optimised for mobile as part of the campaign, with the whole process taking approximately five to seven minutes via a smartphone.