The Students’ Union campaign to get students home to vote before the general election has been deemed a success by Campaign and Communications officer Cian Byrne. Launched the week of the election, the campaign sought to sign up students to carpool home in time to vote.
Byrne claimed that the success could be seen “especially not going by the quantitative but even the response we’ve got back from people, how happy they are that we’re doing it, that they got to see it.”
About 150 people in total registered to get home through the campaign, which also gave away a number of prizes to participants. Six train tickets were given to people who could not join a carpool to their home county while some students won back their petrol if they posted a video or picture of themselves on their journey. Two cars won their petrol back.
Byrne explained that the idea of the social media posts “was so everyone could see what we were doing… we had a picture from one winner that had a punctured tyre and still managed to get home to vote.”
The campaign was promoted through handing out flyers and postering around campus, which Byrne says helped the campaign. “Just when people stopped and looked, and got a laugh out of the karaoke, and then because we were talking about politics, which is kind of a hard sell to students, but it was something that related to getting you home and informing you and people responded really well to that.”
The campaign was first announced at SU council the Monday evening before the general election. Byrne claimed that this did not have a significant impact on the uptake. “The response on the ground was unbelievably well taken, so I don’t think we would have gotten many more numbers if we would have opened it up earlier.” He further explained that opening it up earlier would have been difficult as “we would have had to push it, to say get ready to go home and vote two weeks in advance, for a carpool.”
The campaign comes after the SU failed to run a voter registration before the election.