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Electoral Commission embraces tech to get young people to vote

The Electoral Commission (opens in new tab) is launching a number of mobile and social media campaigns aimed at encouraging young people to register to vote.

The organisation is particularly targeting students by sending text reminders to register to vote as soon as they set foot on campus.

To do this, the Commission is working with the UK’s biggest mobile providers to “geo-fence” popular locations, essentially erecting digital barriers around a particular area using GPS data.

Students at selected universities including Sheffield, Nottingham and Lancaster will receive the automated text with a reminder to register by 20th April and a link to the voter registration page when they enter their nearest geo-fenced area.

“The smartphone is at the heart of young people’s lives and the way that the managed things,” head of campaigns at the Electoral Commission Michael Abbot told the UK newspaper The Guardian. (opens in new tab)

“This feels like a great opportunity to reach them with something we know is at the heart of their digital life.

“Many students have a term-time and a home-time address. The general election is going to fall during term-time for most students and we want to flag up that fact to them,” he added.

Social Media And Digital Advertising

The Electoral Commission is also launching a social media campaign know as #RegAFriend, or, Register a Friend.

By sharing messages and photos on social networks, the organisation will urge students and young people who have already registered to vote to encourage their friends and families to do the same.

“Plenty of young people are passionate about voting and this campaign aims to use the power of social networks to help them spread the word about the importance and ease of registering,” claimed Abbot (opens in new tab).

“Time is running short and if students and young people want to have their say they must take action now by registering at (opens in new tab).

The Electoral Commission is in the processing of upping its “digital activity” by including adverts on catch-up TV and Facebook.

It claims such publicity is necessary to encourage people to register and then vote because its recent research with YouGov highlighted that many people are unaware of the processes and deadlines involved.