Update 6/13/16 – As a result of this Bite the Ballot effort 1,869,904 citizens applied to register to vote.
Thirty percent of UK youth under the age of 25 are not registered to vote, according to the Electoral Commission. Many companies and organizations, including Starbucks, are encouraging young people to register ahead of the EU referendum vote in June.
From June 1-14, Starbucks and Bite the Ballot will launch Democracy café events for young people to join in conversation about the EU referendum and understand the significance of the vote. Fifty events will take place in Starbucks stores across the UK with more than 1,000 young people expected to attend. The first event will take place at the Vigo Street store in London.
“Together with Bite the Ballot, we are reviving the role coffee shops once played in sparking public debate in the 17th and 18th centuries,” said Simon Redfern, Starbucks vice president of Public Affairs. “With over 4,500 people under the age of 25 employed at Starbucks in the UK, we are delighted to provide this opportunity to young people, including our store partners, to join this important conversation.”
The events at Starbucks UK stores come at a time when 40 percent of 18-30 year olds in the UK say that they don’t know enough about the referendum, according to research by YouGov commissioned by Bite the Ballot and HOPE Not Hate.
“I hope this series of events with Starbucks enables citizens to explore the EU referendum, so they feel confident to participate and make an informed decision,” said Mike Sani, co-founder and CEO of Bite the Ballot. “This effort will be featured as part of a week-long drive where online and grassroots activities will combine with a goal of registering at least half a million young people.”
The YouGov research also indicates that some of the topics discussed during the Democracy café events will likely be the main issues young people are concerned about when discussing the future of their country including health, immigration and asylum, the economy and housing.
“The Democracy café events are creating safe environments for young people to meet and debate the issues they care about to ensure they register to vote and ultimately feel informed, involved and empowered,” said Redfern.
Learn more about how Starbucks Encourages Civic Engagement
Photo credit: Alex Odam
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