Tech community pitches #VoteyMcVoteface to get young out in #EUref

Written as editor of the New Statesman’s NS Tech and first published here.

It’s either the most ridiculous idea to come out of the EU referendum campaign yet, or it’s so crazy it might just work.

Yes, #VoteyMcVoteface launched this weekend, a social media-driven hat-tilt to the boat that never was, as an attempt by the tech community to stir up young voters.

The idea is that you take a selfie of your ‘vote face’ and post it on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, along with the hashtag, to show off to others that you’ve registered to vote.

The campaign was pitched by Jenny Griffiths, the founder of shopping app Snap Fashion, at a meeting of tech founders in Downing Street.

Here she is sharing the idea.

Due to the purdah rules that prevent the government campaigning from now until election day, David Cameron appears to be drawing on the burgeoning tech industry for help.

Companies like Facebook have for several years enabled people to add an ‘I voted’ sticker to their profile. The FT says Uber is also among the companies joining these efforts over the weekend.

But many have been quick to condemn this latest effort as an insult to people’s intelligence.

Oh man, UK tech’s idea to get young people to vote is literally a Private Eye cartoon

— James Cook (@JamesLiamCook) May 30, 2016

In an Opinium/Observer poll conducted back in April, 18 to 34s were the most likely age group to say they wanted to remain in the EU, but they were also the least likely to say they would definitely vote.

That might well be because both sides of the debate have struggled to pitch their campaigns at younger voters.

A Leave.EU video that was created in response to an earlier Stronger In attempt to woo young voters was slammed last week for its use of “fascist” imagery.

Whether seeing their pals get their ‘vote face’ out will encourage young people to register by 7 June, and then to actually vote, is debatable.

But, just like our lost friend #BoatyMcBoatface, the name is annoyingly memorable, at least.

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