T-Shirt Registers Voters
In preparation for the 2012 presidential election the non-profit organization Rock the Vote devised a new tactic for registering voters: a QR-code t-shirt. When scanned the t-shirt worn by volunteers takes participants to the Rock the Vote website where they can quickly register to vote on their mobile device. The tech-savvy campaign is geared towards a younger audience.
“QR codes can do fun things like gamification. They also cut down on loss of conversion and increase convenience. QR codes haven’t moved mainstream with all demographics, but Generation Y knows what they are and they use them,” PromoJam’s Amanda MacNaughton, who worked with Rock the Vote on the project, told PSFK.
Even in 2008, when a high number of youth turned out to vote for president, a 2010 Census Bureau report shows that the 18-to-24-year-old demographic still had the lowest voter turnout in the election–by a lot. Less than half (48.5 percent) of 18-to-24-year-olds voted for president, a number that’s nearly 10 percent smaller than the next lowest voting demographic–25-to-34-year-olds–who had a 57 percent turnout in 2008.
This year The New Republic is predicting still a smaller turnout for 2012.
“The data suggest that three factors consistently make a difference in voting rates: money, marriage, and homeownership. Those are the adult commitments that give people a stake in society; to protect and expand their stake, they vote,” TNR writes. The publication sites that young adults have a tendency to push back marriage and home ownership and are making money later, meaning they are less likely to vote until older. With the economic crisis delaying these goals further, even fewer young adults are voting.
“For the nation’s young, the Great Recession has turned money, marriage, and homeownership into an impossible dream,” TNR said.
In the face of these trends and numbers, Rock the Vote hopes to gain 1.5 million new voters before November 6 this year. The QR-Code t-shirts will be sold online and in Whole Foods stores across the country to spread the word. Those interested in getting in on the ground floor of the campaign can volunteer to be “mobile hotspots” by wearing the t-shirt and persuading people to sign up.
“Over the past years there has been an unprecedented attack on the ability of young people to exercise their right to vote,” Rock the Vote says on its Scan to Vote page. “The significant role young people have played and will play in this election is undeniable.”