James Sloam has published a new article in New Media & Society entitled, #Votebecause: Youth mobilisation for the referendum on British membership of the European Union. James presents his ethnographic study of student voter mobilisation through new political communication, notably the #votebecause hashtag. Congratulations to James! Read the study here.
For several decades, academics and political commentators have lamented the decline in electoral participation among younger citizens. In the United Kingdom, the proportion of 18- to 24-year-olds voting in general elections fell from over 60% in 1992 to an average of 40% between 2001 and 2015. Nevertheless, the high youth turnout in 2017 showed that young people will vote if they are interested in an issue or cause. Despite the scholarly interest in youth turnout, few studies have investigated the individual motivations for electoral participation among young people. This article aims to fill this gap. It presents a qualitative analysis of ‘#Votebecause’, an offline–online initiative to encourage students to vote in the 2016 referendum on British membership of the European Union. The findings identify the importance of social networks, appropriate spaces for communication, deliberation, prior group membership and internal efficacy for engaging young people in the campaign.