Throughout the last few months, a constant barrage of political material has dominated the local arena. Even though this phenomenon takes place every five years in what has become part of an unavoidable campaign to influence voters, political messages have taken an entirely new dimension this year, with online political adverts becoming the order of the day besides the traditional billboard on every street, political broadcast every evenings and political messages on TV and Radio.
Even though the purpose of these advertisements is to influence voters, these may come across as being too strong for young voters, particularly first time voters. The campaigns conducted by the political parties all put an emphasis on young people, with this particular group of people featuring prominently in electoral programmes and such. However, one must not ignore the possibility that first time voters will become alienated in the midst of excessive propaganda, with serious consequences.
Luckily the local political scenario has become much less polarized than a couple of decades ago. First time voters in this particular election have not experienced the extreme polarization of politics which unfortunately dominated the Maltese Islands until recently. This is beneficial since for the first time, youths are entrusted to make up their own minds regarding who to vote for, possibly using cross party voting.The electoral proposal to decrease the voting age to 16 by both main political parties will introduce youngsters to the political scene at an earlier age. Although this is to be welcomed, one must not implement this issue lightly. Special care must be taken to foster political education in post secondary institutions in order to make the young voter aware of the important ramifications that his vote may have. It is useless to push young people towards the ballot box without informing them completely of their civic duties.The young voter has the important right to make up his own mind about who he wants to vote for in order to implement ideas that are relevant to him.An advantage of pluralization and digital communication is the ease with which one may access information today. All political parties have out their electoral programmes on the internet for scrutiny. The first time voter may thus choose to disregard all other political propaganda and in turn focus solely on this document. In order to make an informed decision, these programmes must be read diligently and with care. It is only after that these documents have been extensively consulted that the young first time voter may start to give some measure of though on who to vote for in the upcoming election.
Areas of interest such as education remain more relevant than others to students, and this must be taken into consideration.Through comparing and contrasting the electoral programmes of the main parties, one can identify individual areas of interest which may be taken into consideration by the voter in the process of deciding who to vote for.