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Electoral Centre Issues Challenge

Challenge Issued To Improve Numbers Of Young Kiwis Enrolled To Vote For The 2008 General Election

The Electoral Enrolment Centre is issuing a challenge to young people and organisations across the country to each get five 18-24 year olds enrolled to vote during a targeted youth enrolment drive in August.

Almost 110,000 18 to 24 year olds eligible to enrol still haven’t – that’s about the same as the total number of eligible voters in Hamilton or all eligible voters in Rotorua, Gisborne and Nelson combined.

“We’re launching our Let’s Get Loud youth enrolment drive during August to get as many young people enrolled and empowered to have their say at election time,” says Murray Wicks, National Manager of the Electoral Enrolment Centre (EEC).

For the first time the EEC has enlisted the support of the Bebo social media network site to help reach young New Zealanders to get them enrolled.

“We’ve teamed up with Bebo to reach the tens of thousands of young people who connect with each other to encourage them to ‘get loud’, get enrolled and to have their say at this election,” says Mr Wicks.

The Let’s Get Loud campaign involves musicians, actors, community groups, organisations and individuals to spread the word that enrolling and voting is easy and relevant to young people.

A dedicated youth enrolment week will be held from 11 August 2008.

“We want to tap into the networks of young people across the country to get them enrolled,” says Mr Wicks. “This means reaching them online through communities such as Bebo, on the ground where they are studying or taking time out and also in the community and through their families and other networks.

“For example we’re running a competition on Bebo to encourage young people to speak out and get involved by making their own TV advertisement about enrolling and voting, which will be voted on and the winning advertisement screened on music TV channel C4.”

Students studying creative advertising at Auckland’s AXIS Adschool (at Media Design School) have produced a series of viral advertisements to kick-start the Bebo campaign.

The Electoral Enrolment Centre is working on the ground at events, at markets, malls and movie theatres and on campus, with organisations and community groups to get more young people enrolled.

Statistics show that:

- One in four 18 to 24 year olds still aren’t enrolled
- 108,600 18 to 24 year olds aren’t enrolled – that’s enough to fill Eden Park to capacity twice over, or the same number of eligible voters in Hamilton.
- Forty percent of all people not enrolled are aged 18-24 years old

While 302,000 or almost 75 percent of 18 to 24 year olds are enrolled thanks to the ongoing enrolment work carried out, additional focused efforts are needed to improve these numbers.

ENDS

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