Government will use text messages to encourage young voters

Text messages will be sent to tens of thousands of young people in the run up to the general election, encouraging them to vote.

As part of the Electoral Commission’s first mobile campaign, students on O2, EE or Vodafone networks will receive targeted texts reminding them to register to vote. The SMS will include a URL to an online application form to make the sign-up process easy, reports thedrum.com.

The campaign has been dubbed ‘use your age wisely’ and aims to combat the low number of registered voters aged 16-17, which fell by a whopping 920,000 in the 10 months to December 2014.

Michael Abbott, head of campaigns at the Electoral Commission, says: “We saw at the Scottish Independence Referendum that young people can be one of the most passionate and engaged groups in our democracy, but they need to know that they can only have a say if they’re registered.

“Turning 18 is an important rite of passage for young people, and gaining the right to vote in a General Election year is a huge part of that.”

Social networks are also being utilised to capture the younger electorate notes lovalgov.co.uk – with Facebook playing its part in drumming up interest to support the campaign. The Commission launched its targeted adverts online this week, which it hopes will encourage eligible youngsters to register and those who are 18 to vote for the very first time.