ACT Election: Labor candidate using Tinder to connect with young voters

Labor candidate for Yerrabi, Michael Pettersson. Photo: Supplied

Labor candidate for Yerrabi, Michael Pettersson. Photo: Supplied

Would you swipe right for a politician this election?

While politicians are no strangers to using social media during an election campaign, one candidate is taking a different approach by using Tinder.

Labor candidate for Yerrabi Michael Pettersson, 25, is using the dating app in an attempt to reach out to younger voters during the election campaign.

Since starting up the account on Wednesday, he said the response has been overwhelming from Tinder users.

"The first day I had 300 young Canberrans swipe right to have a chat about local politics," he said.

"People were asking policy questions, passing on well wishes and there were even a few flattering compliments."

Screenshots of Mr Pettersson's profile show campaign photos and advertising more commonly seen on corflutes on Canberra streets.

Screenshot of Michael Pettersson's Tinder profile, a candidate at the ACT election using the dating app to appeal to young voters. Photo: Supplied

Screenshot of Michael Pettersson's Tinder profile, a candidate at the ACT election using the dating app to appeal to young voters. Photo: Supplied

His profile reads: "I'm a candidate in the ACT Election on October 15 – and since MySpace isn't really a thing anymore … Let's talk politics … or puns."

Mr Pettersson said the idea to use Tinder as a campaign tool came after traditional methods didn't work with young voters.

"My campaign has called 35,000 people and knocked on 25,000 doors and we found overwhelmingly we were missing younger voters," he said.

"Younger voters are not often answering the family landline and household door.

"Being the youngest ALP candidate I have a head start in reaching out to younger voters in mediums that other candidates aren't aware of."

While it isn't known whether other candidates in ACT are using similar methods to woo voters, this isn't the first time dating apps have been used on the campaign trail.

At the recent federal election, users of the gay-dating app Grindr in the Melbourne electorates of Higgins and Batman were targeted with advertising from Greens candidates.

NSW Greens also used political advertising on Grindr before the NSW state election in 2015.

Overseas, Tinder has been used as an election tool for Bernie Sanders during the US presidential primaries earlier this year.

While Mr Pettersson did not say whether he would continue using the account once the election was over, he said it had proved an effective election tool.

"The biggest criticism of politicians from my generation is that they're out of touch and uncontactable, I'm trying to be different," he said. 

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