Technology will have a key part to play in the election
By the time you read next week’s newsletter, we may or may not have a clear picture of who will be Prime Minister of the UK for the next five years (no pun intended). Crucially, this person will lead the nation during a period of great change and uncertainty for its citizens as the country negotiates its exit from the European Union.
How many will decide to use their vote remains to be seen and, indeed, whether the turn-out will be higher than the 72.2 per cent count for the referendum vote (this exceeded that of the most recent 2015 General Election at 66.1 per cent).
Technology will have many parts to play in the election from the reporting and coverage to the follow-up analysis but it is also being used to encourage more people to get out and vote.
This week Smart Cities World featured a story on how the world’s largest public transport app, Moovit, is aiming to get more people to the ballot box on 8 June. It will send its UK users a reminder to vote via a push notification and, thanks to a partnership with the Democracy Club, will provide help in guiding voters to their nearest polling station.
Moovit takes its civic and environmental responsibility extremely seriously and wants to encourage and empower everyone eligible to get out there and use their vote. So could it be an app that helps to motivate those disengaged and disinclined voters rather than a manifesto or party political broadcasts? Well, a recent suggests it could have an impact.
According to a global research report carried out by networking technology company A10 Networks, 42 per cent of respondents say they can’t live without apps. In a test of how literal or passionate respondents are in backing such statements, half of them describe them as important as or almost as important as breathing, eating or drinking.
It will be interesting to see the turn-out stats for the app-loving 18-24-year-old age group which is generally in decline: 43 per cent voted in the 2015 elections compared with 63 per cent back in the 1992 General Election. Can an app overcome election inertia?
We’re making no predictions here. Those old enough to remember will recall it was the 1992 election that caused one of the biggest surprise results in recent times when John Major’s Conservative party was returned. Myself and Smart Cities World editor Melony Rocque were among those caught out having put a smiling Labour leader Neil Kinnock on the cover of the graphic arts and publishing technology magazine we were working on at the time that went to press on election night.
So we’ll leave the analysis to the political pundits far more qualified than us. And anyway, the morning of 9 June will soon be here as the fast-moving times in which we live means that a week is no longer a long time even in politics.