Combating Voter Apathy In South Africa

Voter turnout in the South Africa, particularly in the youth age group has been decreasing steadily. According to surveys conducted by several organizations and the IEC itself, turnout is lowest among those between the age of 16 - 25. There have been some effective attempts at engaging these groups in other regions, and in the last two elections, parties increased their campaigning efforts and the IEC was spreading more awareness through activations around university campuses and communities. However, these interventions have yet to have any significant effect on turnout. 

Low voter turnout has been shown to have negative associations with overall civic engagement. It is becoming an area of increasing concern in many countries. When specific groups of citizens lack political representation, they are likely to become more excluded over time, leading to an erosion of trust in democratic institutions. Addressing this problem will have practical benefits for South Africa as well in the African continent and will contribute to understanding of this widespread phenomenon. In response, the JHB Global Shapers community have established the voter apathy project, an awareness campaign that aims to encourage people (especially young people) in South Africa to vote.

There are three main objectives of the project:

  • Amplify messages around the need for youth participation in the upcoming election, through the use of our social media pages and strategic collaboration with key partners.

  • Co-Host a workshop or small engagement event that will engage youth participants. 

  • Host our own meet the leader event: A moderated discussion on youth participation in voting.