I clearly remember the thrill of turning 18 and finally being able to vote. It was a while back and since I don’t want you to guess my age, I will not tell you the year! In fact I have no memory of the person I voted for. But I have complete memory of the excitement I felt at being part of the political process of India. At being able to voice my opinion, even if it was influenced by the ideology of my family. At being able to think to myself that I could make a difference to things around me.
Now I have three children, all of whom enjoy the voting right. But sadly, I don’t think that they, or their friends, share my excitement about elections and governance. It could be disappointment with the politicians, apathy at the system, blatant corruption or careless / lack of responsibility. But whatever it is, it saddens me to see things like this. That is why I decided to think of some cool ways in which I can mobilize today’s youth to vote during the general elections 2014.
Though I am not technically competent or savvy, I feel that my children are addicted to their phones so if I want them to vote, I need to think of some smart apps! Introducing to you my top 5 inspire-youngsters-to-vote apps!
PM for a day app / game: This is my flagship app and hence it occupies number 1 spot in my countdown. This app gives the user a simulation of how it is to be the PM for a day.
There will be limited number of resources available whether natural or man-made. There will be people available to work and money to invest. All this would show in the side panel of the game / app. There will be certain responsibilities and limitations. Responsibilities will include ensuring that the constituency eats, there is power, water and infrastructure. Challenges will include things like limited money, certain resources cant be used for certain projects and destructive things can’t be done.
While it is fun and allows the user to make decisions related to the country, policies and processes, it also shows the difficulties and challenges. For each road that the user builds, there is a natural resource reducing in the side panel, there is a budget being consumed, there is a person being involved.
Talk to your candidate app: Through this app questions can be sent to the person the youth have elected and answers must be received within a stipulated timelines. This app is mainly aimed at enhanced interaction between candidates and voters.
“Highlight issues in your area” app: A slight variation on the above app as this will be more about issues or practical attention required in the constituency. Once a certain candidate has been voted into power, there will be an app where issues, grievance, and in fact even appreciations can be collated. These will be passed on to the concerned person in the candidate’s department and mostly to the candidate himself. Once recorded, these issues can be resolved basis the various people and resources involved. The app will give a periodic update to people who have signed up against the issue. I believe that it will be lovely to get personalized attention from the person one has worked hard to get elected.
Log your vote to earn points app: Youngsters will have the option to record that they have finished voting. They will get some points for it. These points can be redeemed at various outlets and establishments. This will depend on how each establishment wants to be associated. It could be that a travel portal wants to offer 20% off on flight tickets in exchange and a telecommunications company wants to offer free talk time.
Make each other vote app: Friends should egg each other to vote. There should ‘pokes’ nudges’ or kicks’ whatever it takes! 😀
Also, parents will play an important role here given that all of them are on social mobile apps these days too! So parents: encourage your kids to make their voices count. Remind them that they can’t complain about “the system’ if they aren’t part of it. Make them log on to electioncommission.com and register themselves. Keep sending them pings and reminders on apps even if your kids are sitting right in front of you!
Other than these, there can be other good uses where social mobile apps can be put. Parties can use apps to manage their campaigns and performance better. E.g. each party has many positions like City managers, vote managers, district managers, app managers — these managers should register on the app. During their campaign trails they visit many households, during these times they can collect data from all households like members, preferences, demographics, along with GPS address and other stats.