Supporting Election Socialization Efforts for New Voters
By : Bagas Adrian Nathaniel )*
The General Election (Pemilu) is a democratic party that involves many parties, including students who have met the requirements to hold KTPs. Of course, they are first-time voters who are expected to be able to determine the direction of the nation’s future. As novice voters, they definitely need socialization so that they are able to use their voting rights wisely.
On the occasion of a Focus Group Discussion (FGD) at the Office of the Information and Communication Technology Development Center (BPTIK) of the Bangka Belitung Education Service (Dindik), a few days ago. The students asked various questions which showed that first-time voters were still confused about exercising their right to vote in the 2024 elections.
Tiara, one of the participants, who is a public high school student in Bangka Belitung, expressed confusion about the 2024 elections. She also felt that teenagers her age still didn’t care about the system and politics. He also asked about the billboards scattered on the side of the road.
Tiara said that on average her friends didn’t care much about the system and politics. He saw a lot of billboards and various parties. Is this to educate students? So why is it installed on the side of the road?
On the same occasion, one of the students named Rusdi Kurniawan also asked for tips on how to choose the right people’s representatives for beginners. A number of other students present asked questions about the differences between elections and Pilkada.
Of course, this confusion, ignorance and even disinterest among novice voters is a challenge for election organizers such as the KPU to provide education or understanding to students who have reached the legal age to vote.
Meanwhile, Husin, as Chair of the General Election Commission (KPU) of Bangka Belitung (Babel) Province, does not deny that in 2024, the elections will be dominated by first-time voters. So the KPU hopes that first-time voters will be intelligent and qualified, because their votes will also determine the future of the country.
Husin also emphasized that the KPU was ready to accept invitations to provide education about elections to teenagers at the school level. Especially if the invitation is implemented in an effort to increase voter participation. So that they are aware of their rights and obligations, namely having the right to vote to determine the progress of the nation. It should be noted that the number of young voters has reached 60%.
Raising political literacy will of course produce new voters who understand their role, namely overseeing elections by actively participating in educating local people about hoaxes, disinformation and misinformation as well as being actively involved in reporting dangerous content and preventing its spread. New voters need to get involved because most of them are very familiar with social media.
On a different occasion, Political Science Lecturer at FISIP UNAIR Fahrul Muzzaqi, SIP., MIP said that new voters are an important part of the election process because they are still in the early stages of practicing democracy, especially electoral democracy. So it is important for first-time voters to have an awareness of democratic practices in the 2024 elections, which is the first step in determining the next steps in democracy.
Fahrul also advised novice voters who will cast their vote in the 2024 elections, that politics is something that does not always live up to expectations. However, when we don’t care about politics, we will be the ones politicized. So, our concern really determines the course of democracy, we must not only become political objects but must become political subjects.
Socialization about elections to first-time voters is of course important, because most first-time voters are a generation that received political education through social media content published without filtering. Beginner voters have the right to get understanding from experts or practitioners.
Socialization about elections also needs to be supported because this will prevent novice voters from being easily trapped in political narratives that contain hoaxes, hate speech and so on. Of course, intensified socialization will be very valuable for novice voters to avoid money politics or identity politics.
The black campaign model is also often found in every democratic party. Starting from the politicization of mosques to the spread of hate speech, as well as hoax news that is increasingly coloring the world of social media. So it is very important that social media account owners have good digital literacy.
The increasing number of hoaxes with political themes certainly threatens the quality of democracy in Indonesia. Moreover, hoaxes not only mislead the public, but also delegitimize the process of holding elections. The severity of political hoaxes can also cause people to fight each other. This is certainly a challenge to always involve young people in preventing unhealthy political conflicts.
So, election outreach for first-time voters should be encouraged so that first-time voters are able to cast their vote without any provocation from political elements who take advantage of the situation. New voters are expected to be able to cast their vote without pressure from any party, because this is a form of conducting dignified elections.
)* The author is a Kawiwara Pustaka Contributor