RTÉ’s ‘Project 500’ helps to engage student electorate

The launch of ‘Project 500’, a new digital initiative by RTÉ News Online, will see a change in landscape for nominated election candidates in the run up to the general election.

The platform will allow candidates to create a one-minute broadcast to appeal to their own constituency.

This new project allows voters to be informed of candidates policies in an efficient, visual form, where the electorate can access nominated candidates’ videos via the RTÉ News Online App, the News Now channel, and rte.ie/election.

Implementation of this project will expect to see more engagement with the electorate, especially the young demographic, who can access and understand the political landscape through their smartphones and personal computers.. Labour TD Dominic Hannigan has told The City that ‘it’s a worthwhile project and gives [candidates] the opportunities to reach people who [they] may not see otherwise.’ Dominic commented that many people aren’t home when candidates canvass to homes.

This project is a welcoming aspect in that it is prepares for the student electorate, who since #MarRef, have changed the electorate with a large voter registration and endeavours for activism on social issues. The USI have registered over 80,000 new student voters in the past two years.

On the announcement of the general election taking place on the 26th February, droves of students queued up at Garda stations across the country today to register to vote. Dillon Grace, V.P for Education in Maynooth University’s Student Union, who partook in the voter registration for students told The City that, ‘Maynooth students are now independently, and with the aid of their SU, seeking to register to vote in elections and engage with the political process. A stark contrast to the situation prior to May 22nd.’

In the run up to the election, students are gearing up to register, and RTÉ’s project has allowed for students not living in their home constituencies to view their nominated candidate’s policies. Both these elements will combine to see the electorate expand with both registered and informed students in the coming election.


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