Free concert for young voters

The members of association Vakan. Sigurjónsdóttir is holding the poster.

The members of association Vakan. Sigurjónsdóttir is holding the poster. Ljósmynd/Aðsend

Election night is tomorrow and the cross-party association Vakan "The Wake" is encouraging younger voters to participate in the election by "rewarding" them with a free concert where many of the most popular Icelandic artists will perform. The national electoral commision says Vakan might be breaking electoral law. 

Sigríður María Sigurjónsdóttur vice-resident of Vakan says they founded the association just three weeks ago, but they got the idea right after last year's election, when young people's electoral turnout hit a historical low. Vakan is organising a huge concert, and the idea is that the young people take a selfie of and tag #vakan on social media. This selfie was supposed to be their free ticket to the concert.

"We are not even asking young people to vote, and certainly not telling them what to vote. We only ask them to show up at the electoral site and take a selfie. Then last week the national electoral commisson announces we might be breaking the law," Sigurjónsdóttir explains.

The members of Vakan are certainly not happy about this. "The law states that it is forbidden in any way to reward a voter for voting or not voting. But in Iceland there is a very old tradition that the political parties offer to drive voters to the electoral site to see to that they do vote. If the national electoral commission finds that appropriate, why does it deny young people a very similar encouragement? We find this to be double standard message from them," Sigurjónsdótti says.

They consulted a lawyer and decided that the selfie could not be a ticket to the concert, it would just be free for everybody. "We still encourage young people that are coming to the concert on election night to take a selfie and share it on social media, and support the cause in that ways. And of course we encourage them to vote too," says Sigríður María Sigurjónsdóttir vice-president of association Vakan.

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