By: Charlotte Lever
Evidence shows us that young people are hugely influential in determining elections and can change the outcome of elections when they vote. As a voting ‘block’, young people quite literally have the power to determine elections with their votes.
A 2013 study from the Whitlam Institute looked at voting intentions in each Federal election since 1996. They found that the youth vote had a huge effect on the outcome of the 2001, 2004, 2007 and 2010 elections. They found that the votes of under 35’s may have even determined the outcomes of these elections! Young people make up around 30% of the Australian electorate and because of this large percentage, any major shift in the youth vote could change the outcome of a Federal election.
Yet, while young people could wield this huge influence over politics in Australia, many of us are still not voting.
Added to the above facts is the simple truth that many young people are just not having their votes counted. Here at Y Vote, we did the maths and found that in the 2013 Federal election:
Around 800,000 people under 30 either didn’t enrol to vote, didn’t rock up or didn’t vote properly.
The 2010 Federal election was decided by about 30,000 votes spread across a few key marginal seats.
This essentially means that those 800,000 people could have easily decided who got the keys to the Lodge. If we all voted and used the collective influence we have, politicians across the spectrum would be more inclined to represent our views and fight harder for our vote.
Here’s another example of how powerful the youth vote can be, this time from the UK:
The 2017 UK general election saw a huge surge in young people voting, primarily for the British Labour Party. The Labour Party successfully mobilised voters aged 18-24 by:
Addressing policy areas young people cared about such as education and housing,
Using social media to both target, and engage with young voters, and
Engaging young supporters to convince other young people to vote