Fahnen der EU-Mitgliedsländer wehen am Eingang zum Europaparlament in Strassburg

11.2.2019

Module 4: Vote! – Activating Voters: "Get the European people(s) out to vote!"

Learning objectives:

The students …
  • analyse the development of voter turnout of the last Elections to the European Parliament comparing the different member states. Students can name criteria for high and low voter turnout.
  • look into the subject of the European Union: What is of important to them when it comes to the Elections to the European Parliament.
  • develop ideas for possible measures/initiatives.
  • develop appropriate criteria to evaluate their measures and they decide democratically which measures are being taken.
  • plan independently one or more measures to activate voters or to support the interest in and the commitment to Europe respectively.
  • learn how to plan and take a measure together in a team.

Introduction

Basic idea of the Module: Students work out their own measures for activating voters or for a general interest in or commitment to Europe.

Transition from module 3: Participating in the Elections to the European Parliament is a way to represent their interests in Europe – provided that the EU citizens actually use of their right to vote!
Turnout European Elections 2014Turnout European Elections 2014 (© Team Research with GrafStat)
What was the voter turnout in the last Elections to the European Parliament? Students analyse the statistics concerning the voter turnout in the European Elections (M 04.01). They rank the voter turnout of their own county in comparison to the pan-European turnout and work out in which member states the voter turnout was rather high or low respectively. Students develop ideas on the reasons (e.g. compulsory voting, disenchantment with politics, little interest in European politics, etc.) for a high or low voter turnout and discuss these in class.

Working Phase

Method: Think pair shareMethod: Think pair share (© Team Research with GrafStat)
In a brainstorming, students work on ideas how to pique people’s interest in Europe or the Elections to the European Parliament. During the brainstorming, anything goes. Limits such as costs or implementation difficulties are ignored for the time being, to stimulate creativity and have as many creative ideas as possible. There are different ways to do the brainstorming: One opportunity is to have small groups using posters to do a brainwriting. Another way is the Think-Pair-Share method. Subsequently, the class discusses and sorts the results.

In case the class generates only few ideas or there is little time, the teacher can provide a list (M 04.02) with possible projects and initiatives for activating voters or awaking interest in Europe. One can be part of one of these initiatives which were developed by others or one can take these as a base for developing their own project.

Exemplary initiatives may be:
  • The EU project „This Time I’m Voting!“ (multilingual) wants to create a community of supporters to help encourage a higher voter turnout at the European Elections. How exactly one encourages other people to vote is up to oneself – be it forwarding the call for vote to friends or coming up with an own project. In case one decides to start an own project this can be supported, e.g. by means of this toolkit, with posters and leaflets. Additionally, meetings are organised in different cities allowing for communication and planning of further initiatives, etc.
  • Image or Poster Campaign: Students develop „advertisements“ for participating in the election (cf.images providing reasons for voting)
One also has to decide on how to engage exactly. The following activities are especially suitable for young people:
  • Creating a podcast (digital call for vote)
  • #-Twitter campaign, Twitter wall
  • Creating leaflets
  • Poster campaign
  • Organising and conducting a flash mob/ smart mob
  • Conducting a BarCamp (with Etherpad)
  • Explanatory video about European Elections for voters
  • Further activities (incl. instructions can be found in the participation project “Partizipation 2.0” [german]
It is important to have the students decide together which project or activity they want to do. This is about making a joint democratic decision. The decision process, however, should not be a mere vote. Rather, it should include an analysis of resources (time, talents and abilities, contacts, etc.) to promote critical judgement formation. The students develop criteria which enable a sound decision making. Depending on resources, the class can work on more projects in small groups. (Planning, assignment of responsibility, contact person, formalities, etc. need to be clarified) At the end, the students will have created a common project focusing on relevant European issues – with them being in charge of the joint planning process and conduction. For a final reflection, students can be asked to document their project, allowing the students to reflect on and discuss about what went well and what did not went so well during the project.