Brussels, 26 May 2019: Election-Watch.EU was invited by AEGEE to present its work with young and first time voters in Austria as part of the European Elections Night for partner organisations of the European Parliament. Michael Lidauer presented the project „Young voters meet candidates for the European elections“ – in the context of the European Youth Week, Election-Watch.EU held workshops at schools in several Austrian provinces. The participating students and young vocational trainees could prepare themselves for a discussion event with leading candidates for the European elections. Following the event, short videos were disseminated via social media and circulated via on Facebook, Instagram and youtube to inform and motivate young voters to participate in the elections. In Austria, the voting age was reduced to 16 years of age in 2007, however, the spectrum of citizenship education for this age group depends on the school type and is not yet sufficient. Studies from Austria show that voter turnout can rise by lowering the voting age to 16 years if combined with sufficient civic and voter education at schools.
The panel “Leave no young person behind: youth and the EP 2019 election” as organised by AEGEE Election Observation together with International IDEA. AEGEE organised an election observation mission for the 2019 European elections in 18 EU member states with over 60 short term observers in the age group 18 to 30. The goal of this mission was to analyze youth participation at the European elections in particular. The preliminary findings of this mission were presented at the panel, including the findings from a pilot project on social media observation. Further speakers on the panel were from Democracy International, European Youth Forum, and AGE Platform Europe.