gosh The National Youth Council is organizing a symbolic U18 election. One of the two polling stations in the Kleve district is in Goch. But how does the electoral process work – and what’s behind it?
100 cities and towns, 350 polling stations and thousands of participants – the Jugendring has a lot planned for the U18 regional elections during the week of action from 2 to 6 May. An urn is located in Goch. We answer the most important questions about the Democracy Festival.
What is the U18 national election? The U18 state election will take place shortly before the May 15 state election. The results are published nine days before. Offspring choose under slightly different conditions than adults. In this way, attention is drawn to the fact that young people can easily form their own opinion. As the elections approach, political education campaigns take place in North Rhine-Westphalia. There was also such a project for the federal elections, in the fall of 2021 more than 70,000 young people voted. All children and young people under the age of 18 can participate without registering.
Who organizes the U18 election? The initiative is promoted by the National Youth Council of North Rhine-Westphalia. Within the association, 25 youth organizations have come together to form a working group. One of the main tasks is to represent the interests of young people and youth organizations in public as well as in relation to politics and other social groups. Topics such as educational equity, young people in German migration society, child and youth poverty and youth participation are at the heart of the national youth council. Polling stations for the U18 vote are offered by youth associations, youth councils, youth centres, schools, youth support organizations or municipal youth support offices.
What is the purpose of the election? In the U18 election, the focus should be on political education: young people experience the act of voting, they deal with their own interests and check which parties they represent. Therefore, the motto is: “I want to vote”. The National Youth Council also wants to draw attention to a lowering of the voting age. “For children and young people, ‘I want to vote! is more than an abstract wish. Not only during the pandemic have young people had to learn that their interests and needs are rarely seen or even represented by adults,” said Max Pilger, President of North Rhine-Westphalia. Associations such as the national representation of the elderly, the social protection of workers or the Kolping company support the project. “The right to vote is the ultimate right of participation. Denying it to young people cements their marginalized role in society,” says national coordinator Christian Brüninghoff.
Where to vote in Goch? Young people can vote for the Edelweiss scouts in Goch. However, it will not be a polling place in the traditional sense. Instead, voters should drop off their ballots in the mailbox, which is possible 24 hours a day. From April 29 to May 6, children and young people are welcome to do so. The ballot papers and the ballot box can be found at the entrance to the hall of the scout groups on the right street in Michaelsheim (Kirchhof 9) right next to the church of St. Maria Magdalena in Goch. The path to the polling station is also marked.
Why did you choose the polling station? The scouts have declared their willingness to participate in the national youth council of North Rhine-Westphalia. Another option in the district of Clèves is at the Tour Saint-Michel in Rheurdt. “Polling stations are created where educational institutions want to give young people the opportunity to participate. This was the case in Goch with the Boy Scouts. The U18 election develops as the basis and then begins to take root in the district of Kleve with Goch and Rheurdt”, explains national coordinator Christian Brüninghoff to our editorial staff.
What were the results in 2017? More than 35,000 young people took part in the last U18 regional elections in North Rhine-Westphalia. At that time, the SPD won with 28.08% of the vote, followed by the CDU (21.81%), the Greens (15.48%), the Left (6.72), the FDP (6 ,18), Pirates (4, 71) and AfD (4.58). The other parties reached 12.44%. In the symbolic U18 election four years ago, the Alliance Greens in particular did well above average, winning just 6.4% of the adult vote. Young people would have elected Die Linke to the Land parliament, but in Düsseldorf he is currently on the outside. The CDU, FDP and AfD parties were again more popular with seniors in 2017.