Youth vote engagement tool wins Australian design award

The award-winning VoteLocal is an online interactive tool that is the inspitration of the Design + Democracy Project at Massey University's College of Creative Arts.

An online interactive tool devised by Massey University that encouraged young New Zealanders to engage and vote in last year’s council elections has been honoured at Australia’s Good Design Awards.

VoteLocal, an initiative of the Design + Democracy Project at Massey’s College of Creative Arts, won the social innovation category of the awards that have acknowledged design and innovation excellence for nearly 60 years.

The web tool was a game-like questionnaire that guided people ahead of the 2016 local body elections towards finding the best match for them among their local mayoral candidates in Auckland, Palmerston North and Wellington respectively.

At the time of its launch, Design + Democracy Project director Karl Kane said VoteLocal was designed to empower young voters and help them become active civic participants and engage them with issues in their particular communities in a non-threatening, independent, bi-partisan and decidedly user-friendly environment.

College of Creative Arts Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Claire Robinson says Massey University wants to address the complex issues facing New Zealand in the 21st century. Key to this is to have people engaged in not only the conversations, but also democratic processes.

“The Design + Democracy Project has been exploring, through design, how to get young people engaged with political processes, and secondly how to make them informed confident participants in the democratic process of choosing their governing representatives.

“Informing and engaging with young people is vital in contributing to the fabric of New Zealand’s future. We believe that the issue of low voter turnout is not the sole responsibility of government or council. It is one that we all share as citizens, including designers,” Professor Robinson says.

Keep your eyes peeled closer to this year’s general election too when the Design + Democracy Project launch On the Fence – an online game-like questionnaire that will engage and educate young New Zealanders about their voting choices ahead of election day on September 23.



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