This weekend Switzerland holds a federal election. However, young Swiss are less likely to go to the polls than their older compatriots. Why is this? A political scientist who spoke to SRF offers insights.
Data from the last federal election four years ago show a particularly low turnout among those aged between 18-24 and 25-34. In addition, the data shows that when overall voter turnout is low participation among younger voters is affected more than that of other age groups.
According to political scientist Lucas Leemann there are several reasons for this.
One is the general sense that elections in Switzerland practically never lead to noticeable change in government. This means young people often prefer to engage in political activities such as protest that offer a sense of being more impactful.
Also voting is a habit, a habit that isn’t as well developed among young people compared to older voters. And young people are in a highly active phase of life with a lot of change and this doesn’t support regular voting behaviour.
In addition, politics can be complex and young people in particular can lack orientation when forming the sorts of opinions that lead to voting decisions, said Leemann. The flood of information from events such as the war in Ukraine and the Middle East conflict can sometimes leave people feeling powerless, leaving them with a sense that they cannot have any impact.
Leemann thinks that it is important that young people associate politics with motivated curiosity rather view it as something intimidating.
SRF article (in German)