faced with abstention, Sciences Po students want young people to vote

Science Po students in Reims created the association Le Scrutin, which aims to raise awareness among young people about politics and voting as the presidential election approaches.

Young people talk to young people. With a purpose”make politics more attractive and accessible.” This is what Léontine Vaz and Louise Demarchelier, two students from the Sciences Po campus in Reims, were aiming for when they created Le Scrutin a few months ago. A few days before the first round of the presidential elections on April 10, 2022, the initiative is more than relevant, and it looks like there will be many abstentions.

Born at the beginning of the school year, the association follows awareness. “We realized that we have a privilege, because at school we get acquainted with politics, we talk about it a lot” says Louise Demarchelier, Vice President. “But a lot of people are not interested, don’t have the resources, the time, or nothing to do with it.”

Therefore, in order to inform as many young people as possible, the association has expanded across several sectors, most notably Instagram, the social network most used by young people between the ages of 16 and 25 in France. Content posted in the association’s account “answers three questions: why vote, how and for whom” explains Lina Benier, communications volunteer.

Free access schemes are published regularly on candidate programs, on the steps to be taken to change polling stations, register on the voter lists or issue a power of attorney. Recently, volunteers have created “themed stories” for “compare candidates” on many topics such as “environment, culture, utilities” or even education. “When compiling posts, I rely on the program of candidates” Lena says. “We look, and then we supplement with what is in the media, we multiply our sources so that there is no biased information.”

To complete this virtual mobilization, every Friday and Saturday since last February, the association’s volunteers cross the streets of Reims to challenge young people aged 18 to 27. “The idea is to start a conversation and ask them a question: are you going to vote? For whom? Then we discuss what their reluctance is, why, we redirect the doubters to our Instagram account.” describes Louise. “The idea is not to force people, but to help them by giving them the resources they need.” The desire for information that strives to be objective; defining himself as “apolitical”Association, as her friend Lina recalls, “withdraws from any candidate.”

In the conditions of the presidential elections, raising the awareness of young people about voting was all the more important for them “abstinence rates among young people are high”. In 2017, less than two out of ten registered voters among 18-29-year-olds voted in all rounds of elections, according to INSEE research.

The appeal to 18-27 year olds was also obvious; in the association all volunteers have between “17 and 20 years old”. “This is the conversation we have because we are the same age. It establishes a relationship of equality. by Louise Demarchelier. Lina Besnier she stresses “near link”. “It’s easier for a young person to convince another young person to vote, we have more legitimacy.”

Communication that wants to be opposed “education system” and which avoids, in the opinion of the Association, “feeling of infantilization” it may be the result of a discussion between an older person and a younger person. President Leontyne Vaz hopes her message will be well understood. “We don’t want to be perceived as Science Po students who come to talk to people who don’t necessarily have the same political culture. We really want to take advantage of the fact that we have the same age and the same considerations. like other young people.”

Today, the association has about twenty volunteers, all students on the Sciences Po campus in Reims. They intend to continue their actions after the presidential elections, especially to the parliament. “Politics, free transport, wages for youth, ecology, what worries us” insists Louise Demarchelier. “Awaken the desire for citizen participation”motivate those under 30 to vote on Sunday… to avoid what the student denounces: the fact that “Other people decide, not the youth.”

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