The many obstacles preventing young people from voting in local elections

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Political apathy, lack of online voting and difficulties with the voting process have made it harder for young people to vote in the municipal electionsthe last Things research investigation revealed.

More than 4,500 eligible voters were interviewed over three days between October 12 and 15 – the week after voting closed.

The data of the Electoral Commission shows that just under two-thirds – 63.8% – of Aotearoa’s population between the ages of 18 and 24 have registered to vote, the lowest rate of any age group.

According to the poll, 23% of respondents said the voting process made it too difficult to vote.

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Low voter turnout among young people has been a constant problem in local and national elections, a problem widely attributed to political apathy.

Low turnout among young voters has been a consistent problem in local and national elections, a problem widely attributed to political apathy.  (File photo)

Things

Low turnout among young voters has been a consistent problem in local and national elections, a problem widely attributed to political apathy. (File photo)

But Simon Hays, an engineering student at the University of Auckland, says political apathy among young people is caused by a lack of representation.

“I think a big reason young people don’t vote is because they look at these candidates and say, ‘Oh, they all merge into one – who I’m voting for doesn’t really matter. ‘importance. “”

But for a significant percentage of those polled, the ballots have not even arrived.

According to the survey, 30% of respondents aged 18 to 34 never received their voting pack.

Another engineering student, Jack Sutcliffe, said young people have too many other responsibilities to worry about voting in local elections.

“At the same time, I think voter apathy is so high because people don’t care. I don’t think we can do much to change that. A lot of people aren’t at the stage in life where they really care,” he said.

“Young people are busy, you can be stuck with so many other things in life, politics is just one.”

Of those who voted, 58% of respondents aged 18-44 did so wanting to make a difference in their community and city.

The Manawatū District Council sets up a booth at the Feilding Farmer's Market, hosts movie nights and ping pong games for young people to encourage them to vote.

Provided

The Manawatū District Council sets up a booth at the Feilding Farmer’s Market, hosts movie nights and ping pong games for young people to encourage them to vote.

This compares to 75% of voters aged 75 and over who saw it as a civic duty.

The survey found that 20% of respondents in the youngest age brackets said they didn’t have time to vote and 14% said they didn’t care enough about local politics to vote.

“A lot of people just don’t have time to research or don’t care enough to find out what all the candidates are talking about,” said engineering student Ollie Madsen.

“It’s hard to find a way around that.”

While 69% of respondents wanted more information about candidates and policies, a similar proportion (68%) also wanted the possibility of voting online.

Aucklanders and people aged 18 to 44 – two groups with the lowest turnout – put online voting at the top of their list of factors that would get more people to vote.

New Zealand local government called for an independent review of the electoral system to improve turnout across the country.

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