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Polish 20-year-olds don’t want to vote. "I don't feel the need to explain myself"

Polish 20-year-olds don’t want to vote. "I don't feel the need to explain myself"

Image source: © canva
Maja Kozłowska,
08.04.2024 10:30

Turnout at this year's local elections in the 18-29 age group was exceptionally low. We asked young people to find out why they didn't vote.

The local elections took place on 7 April 2024. Polish citizens voted to elect members for all regional assemblies, county and municipal councils, heads of municipalities and mayors of cities, and 18 district councils of the capital city of Warsaw.

The exit poll results show that the turnout was 51.5%. This is a downright drastic decrease compared to the recent parliamentary elections, where as many as 74.4% of eligible voters participated.

According to the exit polls, the Law and Justice party seems to have won the elections. The right-wing party won 33.7% of the votes across the nation. When combined, the Civic Coalition (31.9%), the Third Way (13.5%), and the Left (6.8%) account for over half of the votes, that is, 52.2%. The Confederation received 7.5% of the votes from the citizens.

2024 local elections 2024: Young people uninvolved

The recent local elections have demonstrated a decline in the participation of young people in politics and socio-political affairs. Only 38.6% of the eligible voters in the 18-29 age group exercised their voting rights, which is the lowest turnout compared to all other age groups. On the other hand, those aged 50-59 displayed the highest level of voter engagement.

Daria Brzezicka, a Third Way candidate for the Białołęka Warsaw district councillor, commented on the low turnout on X.

"As I said before the October elections, young people can’t be treated like voting machines. They have to be taken care of. Unfortunately, the low turnout is proof of that," Brzezicka wrote.

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Why didn't young people vote? "I don't live there anymore"

We asked young people why they did not vote in the local elections. The answers are varied, and inactivity is not always due to laziness or forgetfulness.

"I no longer live in the city where I am registered, and in Toruń, where I have lived for a while, I don't know any candidates. I wasn't motivated, and I don't feel the need to explain myself," says 25-year-old Antek.

"Changing the place of voting is a snap, so it's not at all about official difficulties. In my town, there are only old people running for office. The same faces have been running for years, and there's simply no one to vote for. There are some people running from local committees, but their often conservative right-wing views are a turn-off," adds 24-year-old Ola.

"I didn't know any of the candidates. Their campaigns don't reach the young at all. What are the billboards for? I will remember a name, maybe a face, but nothing else. There aren't many local politicians who run their campaigns on social media. And this is the best way to get Gen Z's attention. How can I vote for a stranger if I don’t know what he stands for and about whom I can't find any valuable information?" rhetorically asks 20-year-old Daga.

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