Google campaigns for youth vote -- virtually

School students aged 15-17 eligible to take part in mock election on 9-12 August

The Google Student Voice 2010 Web site was launched alongside Google's 2010 Federal Election Web site, which shows voters search trends for Australian election terms and information on electoral candidates and polling booth locations.

The Google Student Voice 2010 Web site was launched alongside Google's 2010 Federal Election Web site, which shows voters search trends for Australian election terms and information on electoral candidates and polling booth locations.

At a launch today in Sydney, Google Australia's engineering director Alan Noble announced Student Voice, a Web site targeting young people interested in the 2010 Federal election. The Student Voice Web site will allow young Australians — school students aged 15-17 — to vote in a mock version of the upcoming election, as well as offering education resources and competitions.

Alan Noble, Engineering Director Google Australia and New Zealand, said: “The Internet gives young Australians unprecedented access to political information and politicians. We hope Student Voice further encourages young people to engage in political debate and make their voice heard.” Noble said that he believed the Internet was "by far and away the greatest enabler of democracy" available to Australian citizens.

The Student Voice mock election has been developed with the assistance of the Australian Electoral Commission and uses online ballot papers and voting processes that conform to AEC standards. Information packs have been sent out to schools around the nation, and teachers can enrol their schools in the election process. Enrolment for students is available from today until 12 August, and the mock election itself will run for three days on 9-12 August with students and schools able to vote during this period.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard, the Coalition's Tony Abbott and Greens Senator Bob Brown have created YouTube videos addressing young Australians in the hope of influencing their Student Voice votes. Google will collate the results of the Student Voice election and release them on 15 August, six days before the 21 August Federal election. After the 2010 election has concluded, Google will compare results with its Student Voice mock election information to analyse the difference in voting trends between young Australians and the general public.

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Campbell Simpson

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