Rock The Vote educates and mobilizes through Minecraft virtual voting experience

The nonprofit aims to inspire young voters to get politically active on issues they care about.

Nonprofit organization Rock The Vote has created a virtual polling experience within the world of Minecraft to connect with younger demos.

The activation, by creative agency Sid Lee, aims to engage and educate young and soon-to-be voters, who are typically ignored by traditional turnout tactics, before the upcoming US presidential election.

“Traditional political outreach to young people has been in person or at concerts,” said Teja Foster, social media director at Rock The Vote. “We saw this as an opportunity to literally meet people where they are.”

The experience exists on a public Minecraft server as well as a separate Build The Vote server, and is open to anyone playing the game. Players will be able to enter a virtual voting house that resembles the U.S. Capitol and explore different rooms that educate them about the U.S. electoral process with nonpartisan materials from Rock The Vote.

Within the voting house, players can practice registering to vote and transport themselves to a private voting booth to cast their virtual ballot across 10 issues: gun laws, criminal justice reform, healthcare, global warming, education, immigration, job stability, student loans, corruption and racial equality.

Players can also get specific information on how to vote in their state, look up their polling locations and sign up for election reminder alerts from Rock The Vote.

“With COVID, trying to explain how voting works and getting people engaged is difficult,” Foster said. “We felt this Minecraft world was somewhere where you could see it and experience it without just being talked to about it.”

Sid Lee created the activation to be endemic to Minecraft, said account creative director David Allard. The team worked with game advisors to ensure the activation fit within the overall game experience and standards, and adhered to privacy laws regarding user data.

“Minecraft is about exploring,” Allard said. “We made sure we were reaching players with bits of knowledge everywhere, instead of just throwing the whole package at them.”

To get the word out about the activation, Rock The Vote worked with TikTok influencers such as Little Miss Flint and other young political activists. The org is also targeting gamers with online ads to let them know the experience is available.

“Our goal is to get the word out and educate,” Foster said. “This will talk to young people who don't get spoken to a lot, but really care about certain issues.”

Rock The Vote had to switch tack quickly when it came to engaging with young people this election cycle due to COVID-19. Typically, the organization visits middle and high schools to teach students directly about the electoral process.

“A lot of kids don't have that experience of going to the polls with their parents,” Foster said. “This will give them an experience of what the voting process is like.”

The experience is available on the Java web version of Minecraft and will soon launch on Xbox and Playstation.

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