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Voter turnout raised in Danish municipality

Hoeje-Taastrup Municipality – partner in the Opening Up-project – has used social media to raise the voter turnout significantly at the municipal election in November.

19th November municipal elections were held in Denmark – the elections take place every fourth year. During the last municipal elections the voter turnout has been falling – a development which is taken very seriously by ministries, municipalities etc.: Municipal elections is about the citizen’s everyday life and if the citizens do not vote local democracy will slowly loose legitimacy – “licence to govern”.

Hoeje-Taastrup Municipality has taken up the challenge with great success: Voter participation has risen from 64,5% in 2009 to 69,1 % in 2013 – among other things due to social media-activities.

Citizens like service on Facebook

We used the Facebook-page intensely - Hoeje-Taastrup is leading in the Copenhagen region when it comes to percentage of the population liking the official municipal Facebook-page.

It was practical posts i.e. “Have you received you voter card?” or “See which candidates you can vote for”. But also posts taking the citizens ‘behind the scenes’ in cooperation with individual employees i.e. “Here Thomas is busy fixing the ballots” or “See one of our unknown heroes – Jeanette from the canteen is preparing food for all the people working at the polling stations”. On the election day we posted stories from the election, answered questions etc. During the day we posted updates about the voter participation and during the whole evening we continuously posted the results. We have received good feedback from the citizens on this service. Please visit the Facebook-page on

Young people – a specific target group
We also launched a campaign to specifically raise the voter participation among young people. Here we have launched the Facebook-page

Several young candidates posted presentations and statements on the Facebook, and we presented videos with young people telling about their attitude towards voting. We also posted practical information about how to vote. Sports associations, youth clubs etc. have also delivered content to the page to make it an interesting page for young people in the municipality. We have had a photo competition. In the final evaluation we will look into the numbers to see the voter turnout for this specific target group.

Election-meeting on Facebook
Together with the local newspaper we arranged a big, well-visited electionmeeting with the main candidates. The meeting was live-streamed on the Facebook-page as well as the municipal website. Ca. 350 attended the live-streaming and a little more than 200 citizens participated in the meeting. Afterwards ca. 475 have seen the streaming which means that all in all a little more than 1000 citizens have seen the debate. Before and during the debate the citizens could ask questions to the politicians via the Facebook-page and during the evening questions and comments poured in. The page was also updated with photos and small stories from the meeting.

Digital guide and teaching material
To answer the most common questions about the municipal election we prepared a comprehensive election-guide on our website. We also prepared teaching material to schools, high school etc. which could be downloaded from our website. Several school classes visited the town hall to hear about the election, the city council’s work etc.

Integrated in all this we were part of a big national campaign launched by the Ministry of Economic Affaris and the Interior, Local Government Denmark and Danish Regions: “Think twice before you do NOT vote”.  We had big campaign-banner on the town hall, posters in all schools, day care institutions etc. and streamers on the municipal cars and vehicles.

All together we succeeded: The voter turnout has moved from 64,5% in 2009 to 69,1% in 2013 which is in line with the national tendency. Overall the voter turnout has been raised in Denmark at this election.

Hoeje-Taastrup Municipality is part of a research project at Copenhagen University about voting participation – here we look forward to get more information to the final evaluation.

For questions or more information please contact communication consultant Birgitte Städe –