Did you feel the earth move this year? The ‘Youthquake’ effect on voting

As we get ready to make the journey north to Blackpool for the 2018 AEA Conference we’ve been reminding ourselves of the issues that were on the agenda at last year’s conference in Brighton and looking at how the landscape has shifted within electoral services.

One issue that generated a lot of discussion last year was the role that social media plays in the voting experience for young people – this proved to be quite a hot topic. The general consensus of young people’s experience in exercising their democratic rights was not a positive one – so why is that? and what can be done to change this trend?

A lack of interest in politics is definitely not the reason; after all, the Oxford Dictionaries 2017 word of the year is ‘youthquake’, defined as “a significant cultural, political or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people”. In many countries, 2017 was a year of political change where young people tipped the balance of power, but why did they feel the need to tweet their disgruntlement with the voting process?

The pre-digital world is fast fading into the past – today, a 21-year-old voter has never known a world without Google and in just eight years’ time new voters will have never known a world without an iPhone, so it’s not a surprise that when these young voters are presented with a piece of paper and a pencil tied to a wall with a piece of string to cast their vote, they find it all a little disaffecting.

It appears that many aspects of the current voting process seem alien to them, from the registration process to voting day itself, so it’s easy to see why they would tweet about their voting experience in a negative manner. It takes time to build trust and confidence with unfamiliar procedures.

It’s easy to be reactive and look to correct misguided tweets, but maybe the answer is to look at how we engage with our young society prior to elections. The official recognition of ‘youthquake’ is proof that young people are definitely not apathetic or disengaged, as they are sometimes portrayed by older generations, and the fact that the youth turnout at the 2017 General Election was the highest since 1992 backs up the buzzword, but many seem to be somewhat disillusioned with party politics and simply don’t feel the connection that has characterised the voting habits of the UK of recent times.

In this tech rich world, those in control of the voting process perhaps need to be more proactive in their approach to the next generation. Whether it’s an iPhone or a pencil we use, what we need to be encouraging is our right to vote in our democracy and that’s always going to be something worth protecting.

2017 was quite a year for politics, both at home and abroad, and many things happened which seemed unlikely this time last year, but it’s the prospect of the unexpected that keeps us all on our toes. Can the world take another year of political change and intrigue? Of course it can!


Source: Did you feel the earth move this year? The ‘Youthquake’ effect on voting on Emerge//Secure

The rise and rise of democracy

December is always a time for reflection and as we approach the end of 2017 and look back over what’s happened around the world this year, anyone could be forgiven for feeling despondent about what democracy really means.

Political polarisation and the rise of populism create a danger for democracy and threaten transparency and trust. In many countries, including the UK and the US, more or less half the population did not get the result they wanted when they cast their votes recently, which has created division and instability.

But it would be wrong to buy into this world view. The reality is that over the past four decades democracy across the globe has risen to a post-war high and a comparison of a map of the world’s democratic and autocratic countries from 1976 and 2016 shows a very different picture¹.

For Zimbabwe, the 2018 elections should bring what the country has been waiting for, and although the recent changes in leadership are no guarantee of reform, it is a time of great hope for the country.

The right to vote is fundamental to our society and in the UK we expect the voting process to run smoothly with no mishaps; the same should be the case for every nation, no matter how new they are to the procedure, but this needs the support of specialist companies such as Smith & Ouzman to provide the framework that sits behind free and fair elections. For democracy to work strict procedures need to be adhered to and that’s why best practice for the procurement of electoral services is so vital.

Smith & Ouzman has a long tradition of working with election bodies and government departments around the world and continues to support overseas financial, educational and election markets with vigour, ensuring best practice is followed and supporting all parties involved.

So the message to take into 2018 is that democracy is an upward trend that we should remember when the negative news stories from around the globe seem to make the concept of world peace an impossible dream.

We would like to wish the people of Zimbabwe every success, stability and growth for the years ahead

¹ www.pewresesarch.org

Source: The rise and rise of democracy on Emerge//Secure

#SAAEA2017

The 11th Southern Africa Association for Education Assessment Conference

The Malawi National Examination Board (MANEB) will be hosting the 11th annual conference of the Southern Africa Association for Education Assessment (SAAEA) at Nkopola Lodge in Mangochi, Malawi from 17th July to 19th July 2017.

Conference Theme:
“Promoting Excellence in Assessment for Quality Education”

Smith & Ouzman is partnering with MANEB and ICAM who are your hosts for #SAAEA2017. We have a proud heritage of assisting educational institution in Africa in the form of sponsorships for various conferences and we look forward to helping make #SAAEA2017 a huge success.

The below link contains all the information you need to attend the conference and we urge you all to join us in Malawi in July.

Supporting Documents for SAAEA Conference

Warren Sanders
International Sales Manager – Southern Africa

T: +44 (0) 1323 524 000
C: +44 (0) 7894 193 937
F: +44 (0) 1323 524 024
E: wrs@smith-ouzman.com

Peter Ellis joins The Bank of England’s Decision Making Panel

Smith & Ouzman’s Finance Director Peter Ellis has been confirmed as a member of the Bank of England Decision Maker Panel for Brexit implications.

The Bank of England acts as an advisory body to the Government and plays a key role in managing the economy. In the wake of the Brexit vote it has launched an important initiative to engage Finance Directors from across industries and around the country to be part of a Decision Maker Panel.

The purpose of the panel is to help the Bank understand the implications of Brexit for businesses on the ground. Peter will be telling the Bank what Brexit means for Smith & Ouzman on an on-going basis as the process of leaving the EU unfolds in the years ahead.

“This is a very important initiative and I am proud to be able to contribute to the process on behalf of Smith & Ouzman,” said Peter. “Obviously, it is important to stay aware of the risks and opportunities brought about by our leaving the EU. The Bank will be giving feedback to all participants about the collective impact of developments and policy decisions as they occur, so this is a two way process which can only benefit us as a company.”

Funding Ambulances in Kenya

Seeing the arrival of these ambulances in Kenya is a positive conclusion to a very painful experience for all concerned at Smith & Ouzman; it had long been hoped that this might be the outcome of negotiations between the British and Kenyan governments.

Lessons have been learnt which have benefited Smith & Ouzman’s ongoing development, with new market leading bribery and corruption prevention management systems being put in place. Smith & Ouzman is also the first company in the security print industry to attain BS10500 accreditation (soon to become ISO37001).

We are sure that our experiences have helped open the eyes of many businesses involved in international trade to the pitfalls of trading in such difficult markets. Smith & Ouzman continues to support overseas financial, educational and election markets with renewed vigor, ensuring best practice is followed and supporting all parties involved. We would like to wish everyone involved in the running of the new fleet of ambulances every success and hope the fleet will give many years of reliable service.