This report provides an assessment of Apathy is Boring's youth electoral engagement activities carried out during the 2013 British Columbia provincial election.
The objective of the project was to evaluate the effectiveness of the outreach strategies used by Apathy is Boring, Elections BC, Get Your Vote On (GVYO), and possibly other organizations in terms of their impact on youth voter registration and turnout. The purpose of this report is to:
To gain local support and context, Apathy is Boring contracted Get Your Vote On (GYVO), a BC youth voter outreach organization, to carry out the ground logistics, involve local organizations, and work as the lead coordinators of the Street Teams component of the project.
On February 18, 2013, Apathy is Boring was contracted by Elections BC to organize a workshop for BC organizations, "Reaching (Non-) Voters," about youth electoral outreach with presentations by Elections BC, Apathy is Boring, and guest panellists. Twenty-one participants representing a cross-section of organizations attended and feedback was generally positive. Participants believed that the sessions would help their organizations design better voter outreach strategies. The results from the questionnaires sent to both workshop participants and 183 organizations throughout BC showed that the majority of respondents planned to engage approximately 100 youth during the election primarily through social media, emails and leveraging existing informational materials from election management bodies.
From March 8 to April 19, Apathy is Boring was contracted by Elections BC to carry out Street Team activities across BC, with the goal of registering young voters. The Street Teams attended 51 events, registered 572 voters using paper 200A forms, and had 10,511 interactions with youth, encouraging them to register to vote.
A majority of the 10,511 individuals whom Apathy is Boring encountered turned down the offer of registration because they were confident of their correct status. There were also a few barriers to successfully registering the remaining group of individuals who knew that they were not registered or who were unsure whether they were registered. These included: timing and location (it was ineffective to ask someone walking somewhere or in the vicinity of public transit routes); people who appreciated the invitation but preferred doing the task on their own time (in which case the Apathy is Boring reminder may have contributed to unmeasured registrations); people who were not comfortable sharing their information with either the government or with strangers; and people who were critical of the political system itself and / or who intended not to vote.
Among the 572 completed 200A forms, only 494 were kept for the analytical part of the research project because they were in the age group for which we were testing (18–34). The 18–24 year olds who registered through the Apathy is Boring initiative voted at a rate of 60.8%, compared to the average voting rate of 47.9% for youth in this age group who were registered to vote. The 25–34 year olds who registered through Apathy is Boring voted at a rate of 58.5%, compared to the average voting rate of 39.8% for youth in this age group who were registered to vote. The overall participation rate of youth that Apathy is Boring registered (59.9%) was higher than the provincial average for this age group (42.4%) and was also above the electoral participation rate for all registered BC voters (57.1%).
Apathy is Boring would like to thank Elections Canada for supporting them in spearheading this exciting research initiative. They would also like to thank Elections BC for their support of these innovative activities to encourage youth voter registration. Finally, they would like to thank GYVO for carrying out voter outreach activities in British Columbia throughout the testing phase of this research project.
Apathy is Boring is a non-partisan charitable organization that uses art and technology to educate youth about democracy, with the aim of increasing youth voter turnout, increasing youth engagement in the democratic process, and building a sustainable dialogue between youth and elected officials.