Rick Edwards Tells You Why You Need To Get Behind His Campaign To Get Young People (That’s You) To Vote

‘Young people voting *should* be scary to politicians’


by Jess Commons |
Published on

Are you registered to vote? Maybe you were too young last time we had a general election, or maybe you’re not quite sure which party’s right for you. Either way, Rick Edwards is coming for you.

According to a TED talk on youth voting that the presenter did earlier this year, in 1992, 60% of 18-24 year olds voted in the general election, but by 2010, that number had droped for 44%. With the next general election coming up in just a few short months, the latest polls say that only 24% of 18-24 year olds are certain to cast their vote.

READ MORE: Rick Edwards Gives Incredible Ted Talk On How To Get The Youth To Vote

To say this is kind of a problem is an understatement. Not least because if young people don’t turn out and vote, those politicians we like to laugh at when they say stupid things and complain about because they don’t have our best interests at heart have literally no motivation to get out there and figure out what makes us tick, and even less motivation to actually do anything about it.

Since the TED talk, Rick Edwards has become something of a (rather dashing) campaigner for encouraging the youth vote, so while Russell Brand has been stamping his wordy and nonsensical opinions about not voting all over the internet, Rick has, rather more quietly and delicately been dedicating his time to a campaign he’s running with Bite The Ballot and SBTV’s Jamal Edwards – a fundraiser on IndieGoGo which is seeking to raise enough to create a ‘VAA’ or a Voting Advice Application.

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‘It’s a simple online tool that enables people to match themselves with the parties that their views most closely align with,’ explained Rick when we spoke to him this week. It’s vitally important that these things are impartial, and we’ve got Demos (the country’s leading cross-party think tank) and a team of academics checking everything we do, so we’re confident that we’ll be able to produce something that totally unbiased.’

And what format will this VAA come in? ‘It’ll be an online thing. I met some tech guys and they were like, “Don’t do it as an app because you’ll get fewer users.”’ Rick goes on to say, ‘The main thing is just taking away as many hurdles that people think voting involves and making it as easy as possible.’

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In the same vein as this, Rick’s keen to make online voting a reality. ‘It’s inconceivable that in the general election in 2030 we’re all going to be queuing up at a polling station, I just don’t believe it.’ So why isn’t it a thing yet? ‘It’s very revealing to me that no major party in this country has come out and said they would support online voting, because coming out and saying that in 2014 would be a vote winner – especially among young people and I find this quite curious. I don’t quite know what that means but it doesn’t smack of politicians desperately trying to curry favour with young people.’

Because of course young people could make a different if they all came out and voted right? ‘The difference could be absolutely colossal. It’s going to be really tight and when you have a specific demographic that has a lot of power it can swing. If you look at the 2010 election, there’s about 190 seats where if all of the eligible 18-24 year olds had voted in those constiuentcies, then they would have swung the outcome. Scary times for politicians eh? ‘Yeah. But it should be scary to policitians – you want them to want those votes and know those votes are out there and they need to try and win them and at the moment that’s not really happening.’

Donate to Rick and BTB’s campaign for a VAA here.

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Follow Jess on Twitter @Jess_Commons

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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