Outreach for Youth Vote in Venezuela

VotoJoven is an Venezuelan youth movement that aims to promote civic and democratic engagement among the youngest voters. During 2010, VotoJoven worked on voting related topics, starting from increasing voter registration rates, voting promotion and elections monitoring. With a vibrant and creative discourse, VotoJoven managed to combine on and offline campaigns to reach un-registered young Venezuelan voters.

The first stage of the campaign was to register the 1,631,590 unregistered potential voters from age 18-30. VotoJoven's research noted that the main reason for such a large number of un-registered young voters was the lack of information. The VotoJoven team combined a series of outreach activities in different parts of the country with web-based videos that encouraged Venezuelans to register. Videos combined straightforward messages and invitations from widely known people stating why voting was relevant to citizens.

The communications coordinator, Andres Azpurua said, “we aimed to motivate population groups that have something to say and encourage them to express themselves." Azpurua continued, “[by] using videos and social media, we wanted to do unexpected things, encourage people to think in what they are doing and reflect upon it.”

During offline events - mainly sport matches, concerts and beach parties - the VotoJoven team setup voting registration booths reaching out to thousands of young voters. Also, video stories of such events were quickly shared through social networks and video sharing sites. Over 750,000 young voters subscribed reaching a historical record.

The second phase of the campaign encouraged voters to vote. Traditional off-line campaigns targeted specific regions of Venezuela with low election involvement rates. 2,125,000 paper flyers were distributed all over the country. Nonetheless, the most attractive outreach strategy was done using online videos that did not talk about candidates and addressed every day popular insights on elections.

VotoJoven's YouTube channel published straightforward videos that encouraged people to vote by showing regular citizens and mainstream personalities talking about the importance of changing social issues through democratic processes. Under another YouTube channel a more humorous approach was taken to appeal to younger audiences. A series of videos starred by two comedians became a hit as they covered popular songs with new lyrics that talked about ridiculous stories that encouraged young folk to register and to vote.

Both the more traditional and funny videos were widely seen by people in Venezuela through all possible means: mobile phones, Internet, TV and the movies. VotoJoven's site reached 50,078 visits and over 23,000 followers on Twitter, becoming a mainstream influence during Venezuela's elections.

TOOLS USED: video cameras, laptops and graphic design and video editing software

REACH: Venezuela

RESOURCES: video cameras, laptops, video editing software, video production accessories, Internet access

COST: VotoJoven did not incur in video production expenses since most of the video production tools and software were donated.

TIME: 1 year


Story by Juan Casanueva