Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Uber, Starbucks and Twitter Have Plans to Get British Youth Voting

  • Text reminders when ordering takeout or waiting for an Uber
  • Starbucks hosting ‘Democracy Cafe’ to discuss June 8 election

Mobile-phone text prompts while you wait for your Uber. Election chat over a cappuccino. Uber Technologies Inc., Starbucks Corp. and Twitter Inc. have joined forces to get British youngsters to take part in the June 8 general election, even if it means they might vote for the candidate that wants to tax them the most.

The initiatives, coordinated by youth group Bite The Ballot, aim to rally a loathe-to-vote demographic that tends to be more left-leaning. YouGov polling shows that 45 percent of 18-to-24-year-olds prefer Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, which proposes hiking corporation tax and significantly increasing public spending, to Theresa May’s Conservatives.

Uber plans to send a message to passengers calling for them to register to vote, while users of the Uber Eats service will get a similar prompt as they wait for their food, Bite The Ballot said. Starbucks is hosting so-called Democracy Cafes for people to chat on the election and Twitter will promote content encouraging signups on May 22nd, the voter registration deadline.

“We believe that cities and countries work best when everybody has a say,” Jo Bertram, Uber’s U.K. regional general manager, said in an emailed statement. “That’s why in countries around the world we’ve encouraged people to register to vote and even offered free rides to polling stations.”

With 10 days to go before registration closes, about 26 percent of eligible voters under 24 are not on the electoral roll, according to credit checking firm ClearScore.

“The role of the coffee shop has always been to bring people together and discuss the issues of the day,” Simon Redfern, vice president of public affairs for Starbucks Europe, said in an e-mailed statement. “We’re proud to be supporting Bite The Ballot’s initiative.”

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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