Suzy mentioned RockTheVote.ie yesterday. It is mentioned in the Tribune today:
Cosgrave told the Sunday Tribune that the campaign will involve “everything you could ever imagine, ” but repeatedly stressed that he has “no interest in party politics.” He and his colleagues hope to raise around Euro1m and will also involve high-profile people from Ireland’s sport and music communities to spread their message after it launches on 2 April.
Currently, Rock The Vote has “one main guy” as a financial backer and several other smaller funders.
Cosgrave has calculated that it will take Euro7 to mobilise each voter. The project aims to increase voter turnout by 100,000 people.
100,000 people? In a month? As Suzy points out:
However Rockthevote.ie with lots of money and no sense it seems are launching in April 07 – thatâ€™s one month before the general election folks.
I’ll remain a little sceptical on that so.
The questions you have raised are really spot on and very important.
The starting date does confound common sense, and so youâ€™re entirely right to ask why April 2nd? The answer is that the starting date is based on watertight international evidence. The experience from elsewhere is conclusive and the statistics speak for themselves: starting more than 4 weeks before the day of a national election is highly ineffective – 6 weeks is the absolute limit, with the last week being the most crucial. Like it or not that is the reality and that is the reason we are launching on April 2nd and not March 2nd or tomorrow.
The reason why we were not around for the closing of the electoral register was because we were not really around at that time – we wish we were as we would have done something appropriate at that time, still waiting until April 2nd for our big push to get people out to vote though! The register is a massive issue, but remember you can still be added to the register up until 15 days before polling – admittedly it is complicated and is something we will address as soon as we are ready.
The whole idea only began to take proper shape as the register was closing. November, December and January have been spent conducting extensive research into non-voting in Ireland and how to tackle it using experience and evidence from abroad.
As for the job postings, they were for the benefit of a number of student union officers around the country, who we have been holding meetings with recently. The website is only up in a highly limited and ugly-duckling form. Those jobs will be advertised elsewhere and the closing date extended by some weeks – provided we grow our funds – we are afterall running on very little at this point.
The whole campaign is dependent on funding continuing to increase and that means finding people who see beyond partisan confines and are prepared to put much needed money into something very worthwhile.
I would be very interested in meeting with you. Just drop me an email. The criticism is much needed – it helps us zone in on important questions that we need to answer.
Why on earth you’d talk to student unions about youth voter turnout is a mystery to me. They’re not exactly brilliant at getting students to vote in *their* elections – what makes you think they’ll be any better at ours?
If they are at college on election day, what makes you think they’re registered there instead of at the folks’ place? Or at all?
The very fact you seem obsessed with students is all I need to assume that you’ve never tried to run a real campaign before. Leaving cert students are a thousand percent more reliable and ten percent as likely to bugger off to the other side of the country without warning and/or fail to attend the rally because they’ve gone to India to find themselves.
And what about the other under-25s who aren’t at college, who outnumber the ones who are by two to one? I assume you’ve collected data and it turns out that 90% of them vote. Or do school students (the group most likely to be receptive) and the working classes (the group with the lowest turnout) not interest you?
“We were not around for the closing of the electoral register because we were not really around at that time.”
I think the obvious answer to why it is starting on April 2nd is that April 1st may undermine the serious nature of this project.
John Handelaar – right on the money. There is always a vociferous minority in SUs overwhelmingly outnumbered by sheep.
Jeez. What a great idea. Give some guy a million quid and he’ll set up a website and stuff all of which will have an impossible to measure effect on turnout. Where do I sign up?
Give 1k to each of the 100,000 people, they’ll vote then.