frequently asked questions

What being non-partisan means to us:

Being non-partisan means that Y Vote does not advocate a position on any issues or political parties, however, we will suggest resources for getting informed and encourage young voters to make their voice heard on issues they are passionate about. Wherever possible, we aim to use objective facts to inspire and motivate people to vote. Recognising the difficulty of getting informed without being fed an underlying agenda, we strive to do some of the leg work by sharing objective information that will enable you to come to your own decision. Additionally, we are transparent about our sources and encourage everyone to consume multiple sources of information and question what they read.

How are we a social enterprise?

We apply commercial strategies to maximise our chances of fulfilling our objectives. Y Vote offers workshops to community based organisations whose objectives and priorities align with ours. These workshops are provided on a fee for service basis and form a key income stream for Y Vote. The workshops focus on engaging and equipping 18 - 25 year olds to participate in community decision making processes. Designed by our highly experienced youth engagement specialists, the workshops include a social impact report and follow-up support for partner organisations. More information and expression of interest forms can be found here

Why only 18 - 30 year olds?

Although 3 million Australians didn’t cast a formal vote at the last federal election, voter participation amongst 18-30 year olds is well below national average and represents the biggest problem in voter participation equity. Given the significant lack of participation and wide spread disenfranchisement among this demographic, we feel it’s important that we focus our attention on engaging young Australians. We recognise, however, that Australians of all ages can experience disenfranchisement and encounter barriers to political engagement so we will strive to make our content engaging for users of all ages.

What if I am under 18 or over 30?

No problems, we understand that there are other people not in our target demographic who want to feel more engaged with Australian politics. Sign up and still get involved. We encourage you to Pledge to Vote, we just won’t be including you in any reporting we do regarding 18-30 year olds.

Our definition of voter participation:

References to voter participation include anyone that is eligible to cast a vote in Australian elections. Therefore, when we make reference to low youth voter participation we are including young people who are not enrolled, as well as those who nominally do not vote. 

Where do we get our stats from?

We've utilised data from reputable, publicly available agencies such as, Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) and their reports.  We also use academic research that has been peer reviewed.

How we arrived at the 800,000 figure: To the best of our knowledge, specific statistics regarding the number of eligible 18-30 year olds who did not vote (those who were not enrolled + enrolled young people who nominally didn't vote) in the 2013 federal election are not publicly available. In consultation with some electoral specialists, we added the rates of un-enrolled 18-24 year olds (20% - 25% or approximately 400,000 - 500,000), the estimated un-enrolled 25-30 year olds (based on the national average of 7.6%) as well as the non-participation rate (those that were enrolled but did not vote) of approximately 6%. These estimates were also compared to the rate of 18-29 year olds who did not vote in the 2014 Victorian state election (11.87%). From this we estimate that approximately 300,000 enrolled 18 - 29 year olds did not vote in the 2013 federal election. 

Here are some interesting articles you can check out regarding enrolment and participation (turnout):

'500,000 people aged 18-24 are not registered to vote' (2013)

'One in five Australians cast a vote that doesn't count' (2013)

Although not included in our overall estimates, it's important to remember that the informal vote was 5.92%, which would increase the number of people's votes not being included in the overall outcomes.

How do we calculate the electorate spotlights?

The electorate spotlights estimate the number of 18 - 30 year olds that did not cast a valid vote at the last federal election. The electorate spotlights are estimates only as the specific eligibility, enrolment and turnout rates of 18 - 30 year olds by electorate (division) are not made publicly available. We cannot account for the variations on enrolment and turnout that would naturally exist between electorates, population growth and importantly, the number of young residents who would not be eligible to enrol. We estimated this figure by calculating the approximate total population of 18-30 year olds (ABS, 2011 census data) and divided this figure by the reported rate (25%) of youth non-enrolment. The rate of voter participation tends to increase towards the age of 30 but this estimation also allows for approximately 11% of enrolled youth that nominally didn’t vote and around 5.92% of people that cast an informal vote. Possible variations that could affect these statistics also include:

  • If the electorate has a particularly high number of 18-19 year olds it could be higher.
  • If the electorate has a particularly high number of 25 - 30 year olds it could be lower.
  • If the electorate has a high number of people that are not eligible to vote it could be significantly lower.

This estimation is intended to provide a general snap shot for young people of the impact they can have through voting.