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elections Young people and poorer people don’t vote, says report

Young people posting their vote

Young people in Switzerland are being encouraged to participate more in elections.

(Keystone)

About 20% of eligible Swiss never vote. They include the younger age group and people on lower incomes, reports Le Matin Dimanche newspaper.

In the run-up to next weekend’s parliamentary electionsexternal link, the newspaper looked at who the regular abstentionists are, based on a study by the Swiss Centre of expertise in the Social Sciencesexternal link (FORS) produced after the last elections in 2015.

In the last elections, those with a low rate of participation were young people aged 18-24 years (30%), Swiss of second-generation immigrant origin known as “secondos” (35%), singles (39%) and people earning less than CHF4,000 ($4,000) per month (40%), writes the paper.

Le Matin Dimanche says this is in line with tendencies in other countries, except that in Switzerland only 46% of women voted in the last national elections compared with 53% of men. FORS Director Georg Lutz explains this by saying that when women have children in Switzerland “many stop working or turn part-time and become more concerned with the private  sphere”.

He also says one factor alone is not enough to explain all the differences. For example, "people with high salaries and high education have more resources, in the broadest sense of the word, to follow policy, inform themselves and understand how the system works", the paper quotes him as saying. And while 20% of Swiss people never vote, 20% to 25% do so each time, according to Nenad Stojanovic, a professor at the University of Geneva.

Le Matin Dimanche notes several campaigns to get more young people to vote, such as the easyvote programmeexternal link which aims to raise turnout among the 18 to 25-year old citizens in votes and elections to 40%. The paper says the climate strikes and youth concern about environmental issues could make a difference, but it remains to be seen if such campaigns have paid off.

swissinfo/jc

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