Supported by number of public figures and activists, We the Youth - a community organisation focused on issues concerning the youth of Indonesia - has launched a campaign “100%IN - Seratus Persen Indonesia Nyoblos” (100 per cent vote) to encourage eligible young voters to use their right to vote in the upcoming elections scheduled for 17 April. The campaign’s focus is to encourage youth, considered a driving force, to help shape Indonesia’s future.
The 2019 Legislative and Presidential Elections will provide an opportunity for young voters to exercise their civic rights for the first time. According to the General Election Commission, there are 17.5 million people in the 17-20 age group. 21 to 30 year-olds, who will also play a major role in this year’s elections are numbered around 42.8 million.
As public conversation about politics has increased, the discussion on apathetic voters cannot be ignored. In the last elections, in 2014, voter apathy in Indonesia was around 24.89 per cent, hit its highest level since the 1999 elections.
Data from the Election Commission reveals that 40 per cent of the vote will come from new voters. The campaign expects to reach its target of 100 per cent participation from this eligible group and to reduce voter apathy.
We The Youth’s Executive Director, Widyaswari, said the young generation must participate in the upcoming General Election and vote for the political candidates that match their ideals. The next president and the house (DPR) will determine the policies for the next generation who will reach productive age by 2030.
“We determine what kind of country we want. That’s why it’s very important to use our right to vote. It starts from there. We have to choose the right people who deserve to represent our values. Because our voice matters. We want to make voting a trend among young people, and giving our voice is cool,” Widyaswari said at the campaign launch last week.
Cania Citta Irlanie, a young political commentator and Editor at user-generated news and opinion website Geotimes, suggested that the candidates need to be clear about their positions and utlise effective strategies to get the youth vote. Irlanie believes that the youth are far more aware about politics, but candidates haven’t done much to woo them. In addition, their general behaviour has turned many voters away.
“ The young generation is looking for clear direction from the candidate. If the candidates don’t show it, it’s easy to lose their vote. Don’t confuse us with inconsistent political attitudes. Make us excited about the future,” said Irlanie who also has her own political education on Youtube with Geo Live.
“It’s really important to vote, both for the president and the house of representative. By choosing to be apathetic we still have to pay taxes and be governed by people we don’t really agree with. If we understand politics from a social approach, we will never let the wrong person occupy the government as they have the power to create regulations that affect us, ” Irlanie continued.
Senior researcher for Network for Democracy and Electoral Integrity (Netgrit) Ferry Kurnia Rizkiyansyah said that the total number of voters in the productive age bracket (21-30 years) total about 60 per cent of the vote bank and could potentially change the outcome of the general elections.
“The campaign encourages civic engagement, especially among young voters who are new to politics. Young people have to understand politics as being a part of our public and social life. It impacts our education, healthcare, public transportation, housing, and other issues,” Rizkiyansyah said.
Through a combination of offline and online campaigns, We The Youth will be speaking to youth from January to April in various cities, such as Bandung, Solo and Yogyakarta. One can also participate by buying the campaign t-shirt, and registering on https://www.wetheyouth.id/.