A new online app is proving popular with young people in North East England who want to have their say on this month’s EU Referendum.
The MyReferendum app (http://myreferendum.org.uk/) was designed for 16-25 year olds and lets them learn about the issues around Britain’s EU membership and vote unofficially on whether to leave or remain in the European Union.
The online voting platform was created by young people working with regional charity Youth Focus: North East, in response to fears that many young people will simply not vote on June 23.
Jamie Mercer, regional development officer at Youth Focus: North East, said: “The youth vote is considered critical by both official campaign groups in the EU Referendum, but so far they’ve attracted only criticism for the ways they’ve tried to connect with young people nationally.
There has been the #Votin campaign video and a flopping Brexit music festival.
The young people we work with believe strongly that digital technology and social media is the best way to start a conversation and get their peers voting.”
The online app, which integrates with social networking site Facebook, provides access to resources and information for young people undecided about how to vote.
Jack Stoker, 20, president of Newcastle College Students Union, said:
“This is the biggest political decision the country has faced for some time.
It’s vital that young people recognise how important this referendum could be to their futures.
If you don’t know which way you’re going to vote yet, log onto the app and check out the pros and cons for both sides before casting an unofficial vote with #MyReferendumNE.”
Jack is a key member of Youth Focus: North East’s My Manifesto project, which aims to make politics more accessible to young people.
As well as launching the voting app, the group has staged EU Referendum events and roadshows around the region, including Pizza and Politics nights and two Hustings events featuring politicians and lobbyists from the ‘leave’ and ‘remain’ camps.
Talking Digital to get young people Voting
The My Manifesto group is using digital media and social networks to encourage more young people to register and vote, including:
- Live Facebook Video streaming of ‘Question Time’ style debates on Europe
- Live Twitter feeds used to question politicians
- A Thunderclap campaign to amplify its message and harness the sharing power of social networks
- Online videos of North East youth talking #EUReferendum
- Campaign hashtag