School elections initiative inspires young voters

In the spring amending budget for 2017, the Government is allocating SEK 5 million to the Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil Society to make preparations for school elections in connection with the 2018 national general election and the 2019 European Parliament election. The initiative will benefit a large number of pupils; approximately 1 800 schools took part in the school elections ahead of the 2014 parliamentary elections.

Photo: Jens Gustavsson/Folio

School elections offer a concrete experience of what it is like to vote, and provide schools with the opportunity to discuss the democratic system and the principles of democracy. The initiative will target pupils in upper secondary school and the higher grades of compulsory school in connection with the elections in 2018 and 2019. Special focus will be placed on making school elections available in schools located in socio-economically disadvantaged areas.

Since 2002, the Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil Society has received funds to coordinate school elections in connection with parliamentary elections. The year 2014 was the first time the Agency coordinated school elections ahead of European Parliament elections.

Youth electoral participation

The proportion of young people aged 16–25 who were interested in social issues in Sweden in 2015 was 59 per cent. This level has remained constant since 2004. Youth electoral participation has increased in the last three parliamentary elections and the last two European Parliament elections. But despite these increases, young people do not vote as much as older generations. There is therefore a need to stimulate higher levels of electoral participation among young people.