PHOENIX – Gina Roberts knows that when it comes to getting younger generations to vote, you have to go to them.
That’s why the Citizens Clean Election Commission commissioned a mural along Roosevelt Row – a vibrant arts district in downtown Phoenix – to attract attention to their cause, she said.
“You know what, we know this demographic,” said Roberts, the nonpartisan group’s voter education director. “We know they love street art, and we know their participation rates are a little bit lower, so let’s bring the two together.”
The “Take Flight” mural comes to life when people face their phone’s camera toward the art. The user can open the Shazam app, scan the QR code near the mural and watch the wings flutter on the screen. The theme: “spread your wings: activate your political power.” Immediately, a “register to vote” button appears on the app.
Monday marked an important milestone: The deadline to register to vote in next month’s primary election is midnight.
Younger generations are notorious for staying away from the ballot box – especially during midterm elections. As of April, 59 percent of adults who are eligible to vote were Gen Xers, Millennials or “post-Millennials” nationwide, according to Pew Research Center. But during the 2014 midterm election, the younger generations cast 21 million fewer votes than older generations, despite a huge advantage in population.
Citizens Clean Election Commission provides the public with information on the voting process and the candidates.
“The heart of the Clean Elections Act is to promote participation in the political process,” Roberts said. “We organize a very comprehensive education campaign to reach voters across the entire state.”
To reach younger voters, the campaign uses the hashtag #18in2018.
Roberts said the mural gives younger voters an “opportunity to come down with their friends and have that Instagram-able moment, but turn it into something where they can participate.”
Lauren Lee created the painting. She said the piece is the first animated mural in the state.
“It is really a site-specific kind of art installation, so it only happens on your phone,” Lee said.
To get the wings to flutter, Lee created five stages of the wings in flight, and the team at Shazam combined the images into an animation.
“I think wings are always symbolic of taking flight, and they are symbolic of going out of the nest and into the world,” Lee said.
There is also a mural in Tucson and the goal is to spread this initiative to the entire state.
Roberts said more than 300 people have clicked the “register to vote” button on the app in the past three months.
“We know that in order to get 18-year-olds to want to register to vote, it’s going to have to mean something to them,” she said.
For more information, visit the Citizens Clean Election Commission website.
Follow us on Twitter.