Voter Advice Tool Aims to Boost Youth Turn-Out and Engagement

Ahead of the 2015 Election, cross-party think tank Demos and youth democracy movement Bite the Ballot today launch Verto – a voter advice tool to encourage 16-24 year olds to vote in the 2015 General Election, by helping them to understand how their views and values align with parties’ policy platforms.

There are currently 5.6 million potential young voters in the Election, but as recent Demos research has shown, many are at high risk of political disengagement, compounded by the fact that their views of transcend what would traditionally have been classified as ‘left’ and ‘right’.

To help address this issue and inform the app’s development, Demos formed an independent academic steering and advisory group, in association with the Political Studies Association and the JRSST Charitable Trust. Research was undertaken to identify parties’ stances on a wide range of common issues of campaign prominence, and to link policy positions together so that even those most disconnected from political debate could make informed voting decisions.

Designed and developed by CTI Digital, Verto has been conceived to be simple, fast and intuitive, and accessible across multiple browsers and devices. Users are presented with a series of questions – such as, ‘Should university education be free?’, or ‘Should immigrants have to live here for five years before using the NHS?’ – to which they respond by swiping right or left to indicate agreement or disagreement.

Jonathan Birdwell, Head of Citizenship and Political Participation at Demos, said:

Our research shows that young people are passionate about social issues and having a positive impact on society, but they’re turning away from the act of voting. Social media and new technologies can help to re-engage the next generation of voters. In particular, voter advice tools can encourage voting by helping citizens understand the differences between the parties. Until now, few have been designed specifically with young people in mind. That’s why Demos has teamed up with Bite the Ballot to build a tool that focuses on the issues young people care about, and is designed to appeal to the “swipe” generation.’

More information on Verto, and the official press release, can be viewed on Bite the Ballot’s website, atbitetheballot.co.uk

Press and Media Enquiries:

Demos: Sophie Gaston – 0207 367 6325 – [email protected] (@Demos)

Bite The Ballot: Sara Ghaffari – 0203​ 609 3510 – [email protected]

CTI Digital: Victoria Hughes (ENS) – 020 7384 8215 – [email protected] (@CTIDigitalUK)