Young Voters

Key Questions:

  • How do we encourage youth service/civic engagement?
  • How do young people source political information?
  • How do young people like to access political information?
  • Can we match up the online actions of young people (e.g. tweets) with their information preferences?

The gist so far:

During the 2015 federal election in Canada I helped establish a non-profit organization called Vote Savvy. The Vote Savvy team made youth-focused political advertisements encouraging young people to vote, ran workshops and events on campuses across the country and developed an online tool in collaboration with IBM and researchers to make voting simple. This work built off the 2011 Vote Mobs. We learned from our experience making YouTube videos and paired that insight with rigorous academic study into how people like to learn and talk about political issues. Now I am collaborating with Dr. Amanda Clarke at Carleton University to better understand how to engage youth in the political process based on the Vote Savvy online tool.

We know young people participate in politics differently from their older counterparts. We also know that technology plays a role in political participation and in particular political information sourcing and sharing habits. Our analysis will examine these trends.


Our online survey received about 850 valid responses. For about 100 of those we were also able to collect their tweets (up to 3200 tweets each). We are also interviewing young people who participated in the survey. We are combining statistical analysis, content analysis and in-depth interviews in a novel way to generate a rich detail.