This project was developed with help from Kasper Møller Hansen – Professor in Political Science, Sille Krukow – Expert in Behavioural Design, Ronnie Hansen – CEO at Pumpehuset , Janus Lylloff – teacher at a Danish high school .
Municipality of Odense
In previous elections we have seen a decline in voter turn-outs for local elections, especially amongst the 18 -29 year olds. Odense is a middle sized Danish city with a total population of 171.000 – where 23 pct. (40.500) are 18-29.
In 2009 the young voter turnout in Odense fell to 46.5 pct. and political scientists predicted that continue to decline with an additional 6 pct. in the next election in 2013.
What we did
We defined three different set-ups based on the idea of making the process of voting more available at technical and regular colleges.
Set up #1
The first set up simply offered the students to vote by mail in the school hallway.
This set-up offered no introduction to the candidates or parties before arriving to the election poll. To get this information you would have to go the municipality’s website beforehand.
Set up #2
This set-up offered students the possibility to vote by mail in the school cafeteria, but added a visualization of the candidates and parties running for election, assisted by peers who served as election officials. Additionally we applied visual icons and colors to guide them through the polling.
Set up # 3
The third setup included elements from the previous two with one addition. Here, we involved the teachers and had them introduce the students to the list of candidates and parties at least two days before the polling station arrived. When the polling stations were ready we had the teachers through first, used announced the arrival of the stations via the internal speaker system and showed a movie on “how to vote” at screens on campus.
We saw an overall increase in voter turnout within the target group (18-29 year old) by 12.4 pct. points.
Up from 46.5 pct. to 58.9 pct. (relative to the local elections in 2009).
More campaign details
Set up #1
Five schools had a traditional voting poll. The set-up consisted of a table; two voting booths, a ballot box and had election officials age 40-55 in everyday clothing who assisted the young voters. Out of all the colleges where voting by mail was available the five with the traditional setup collected the least ballots.
Set up #2
Six colleges had a modified election set up with signs providing an overview of the candidates and parties, welcoming counters where peers introduced the students to the voting procedure, flags highlighting the ballot boxes, transparent ballot boxes that showed the students how many that already voted which utilized social proof as the main motivation. Once the ballot was dropped in the box the young voters were meet by peers saying “thank you for voting” and received badges that stated “I voted”. All procedures were marked by numbers and colors that matched an introductionary film running on campus screens close to natural meeting points e.g. the cafeteria.
Set up #3
Seven colleges had the modified election poll in addition to an early introduction to the election performed by the teachers. Besides the elements from set up 2, the students at these colleges were introduced to a visual overview of the candidates, a film showing the election procedure and teachers asking them to raise their hand when asked “how many will vote on Friday” two days before the arrival of the portable election polls. Additionally, each class was called to the election polls and assisted by their teachers when the polls arrived. This set up fetched more than six times the amount of early votes compared to set-up 1 and four times as many as set up 2. This indicates a significant increase in the total amount of votes gained by using intention implementation and social proof. Never the less, political scientists are still working with to finalize the data from the local elections and the final results will follow later this year.
To gather the elements in an overall communication campaign we launched an online and offline community under the Danish payoff “Mit aftryk” ( “My footprint”). Communication build around social proof, introducing the targetgroup to the election procedure, candidates and parties through peers.
See the online campaign “Sæt dit aftryk på Odense – #MitAftryk”: Facebook.com/mitaftryk
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