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Apathetic electorate's electronic urges

Youth more likely to vote if allowed to online

In the run up to the general election the government is pulling out all the stops to woo younger voters. Ploys range from voting online to parliamentary broadcasts via mobile phones.

In an NOP poll, commissioned by PC maker Compaq, two in three youngsters revealed they would cast their vote online if they could. Online democracy would also help convert the apathetic. Almost a third of 18-24 year-olds said they wouldn't bother to vote, but a third of those said they would be more likely to vote if they could do so over the internet.

"This emphasises the practicality of email and the internet," said a spokesperson at Compaq. "People who were put off from going to or simply unable to get to a polling station now have the opportunity to vote."

Labour has used the mobile age to its advantage, having sent out over 5,000 text messages this weekend to youngsters, in a desperate bid to gain more votes.

The text message sent out on Friday, read: "For longer licensing hours, vote Labour."

"This is a way of trying to reach the section of voters that are often forgotten," said a spokeswoman for the Labour Party. "And no, we are not encouraging them to stay out drinking all night."

So it looks as though there's no escape - the election will reach you.

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