Voting Advise Applications (VAAs) and young voting behavior in European Election (2014)

Democracy
 
European Politics
 
Electoral Behaviour
 
Voting Behaviour
 
Presenter
Javier Padilla
The London School of Economics & Political Science
Authors
Javier Ramos
Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Javier Padilla
The London School of Economics & Political Science
Enrique Chueca
Kings College London

Abstract
This paper explores how innovative ICT tools and applications produce real effects on the voting behavior of young European people. More specifically, we have analyzed how the Voting Advice Application (VAA) launched for the European Parliament Election in 2014 (EU-Vox 2014) improved the involvement, transparency, participation, and awareness of the young Europeans at the last European Parliament Election.
Young people are at the same time the least participative in politics and the most pro-Europeans. Even when the turnout at the European Elections is scarce, among young people is lower. Many scholars have related this lack of real participation and involvement with the EU democratic deficit. Moreover, this infrequent participation of the young people on European issues may have had an impact in some events such as Brexit or the lack of European cohesion after the refugee crisis. Therefore, an improvement in the levels of involvement among young Europeans could have an important effect on the improvement of the EU democratic deficit. As VAAs are normally popular among young people, the study of its effects can shed light on how to engage them in European politics.
We have analyzed quantitatively the effects of the EU-Vox 2014 on those aspects which could improve this EU democratic deficit on young people. The EU-Vox 2014 was particularly popular among young people because it was a tool which could match better with their political culture. Empirical pieces of evidence suggest that it had an impact on the young users by enhancing transparency, offering a possibility to match the user preferences with the political parties’ positions. Moreover, VAA increased the direct involvement and participation of those younger users not previously interested in politics. Finally, VAA also contributed to strengthening a European party mentality among the young people.
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"In all forms of Government the people is the true Legislator" - Edmund Burke


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