FFE Magazine

Ballots in Big Macs raise eyebrows in Denmark

by FFE EU News staff

To encourage more Danes to participate in the elections, the government turns its eyes to burgers.

Fast food giant McDonald’s is dipping its ladle in politics as it tries to help the national government, local government associations and youth association DUF increase voter turnout in the 19 November elections.

What’s their plan? To decorate their 87 locations with election materials.

DUF chairman Signe Bo said ‘Less than half of 19 to 29-year-olds voted in the 2009 local government elections.

‘Because our voting habits are established at a young age, it’s vital for the future of democracy that the trend is turned.

‘If we want to reach young people with the message that they need to remember to vote, we can’t just print pamphlets and leave them at the library.’

McDonald’s Denmark’s managing director Stephen Shillington said that with around 160,000 daily, the fast food chain is a great setting to encourage democratic participation, especially among the youth.

While the initiative has been getting broad political support, there are groups that are not impressed. Gladsaxe Council member Kristoffer Beck said ‘I fear that there are a lot of people who are going to vote because they just happen to be at McDonalds at the time.’

Roger Buch of the Danish School of Media and Journalism meanwhile said ‘It undermines the fundamental idea that an election is something major and serious – not just something you fool around with.’

However, supporters of the initiative stressed the need for drastic steps to be taken to finally improve voter turnout in Denmark. Erik Nielsen of KL, the association of Danish councils, said ‘If voters don’t come to the election, we have to go to them.’

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