On Feb 2 a total of 696.632 voters between 18 and 39 years of age are eligible to vote.

Of the 3,078.321 registered voters the group between the ages of 18 and 39, a group that is characterized for being more apt to making last-minute decisions, confessing not to be aligned with any one party or candidate, not to waste time on debates, and use social networks to stay informed, may be the deciding vote according to political experts.

Although the group of voters between the age of 40 and 65 represent the largest block of registered voters – 1.199.150 or 39% of the total number of registered voters eligible to cast their vote on February 2, they also represented the group with the highest voter abtsention in 2010.

Bringing us back to the 696.632 registered voters in the 18-39 group, according to experts candidates and political parties should be the focus  on them, they are most open and flexible to tip the balance of the outcome of the election.

Political analyst, Rotsay Rosales, told CRHoy.com that this age group represents a significant and decisive percentage in the electoral landscape.

Rosales added that in recent studies conducted by the  Institute for Social Research at the University of Costa Rica (UCR ) on abstention, a significant percentage of the population, more than 10% decided their vote in the last 10 or 12 days of the election campaign, at least that was the case in the 2010 elections.

With a little over three weeks to voting, one in five voters are between 18 and 25 years of age, many of them for the first time participating in an election process, according to Esteban Alvarez, manager of CID Gallup Costa Rica, a major polling firm in the country, and part of Latin America’s premier market research and public opinion group.

“Young people are more marked in their opinions, more impetuous. A young person does not have to see a debate but is informed by way of the social networks. They follow a Twitt or Facebook allows them to engage more with less effort”, said Alvarez.

Both the Movimiento Libertario (ML) and Liberación Nacional (PLN) parties are paying close attention to this voter group.

Arturo Acosta, campaign manager for the ML, said his party has issued messages to young people who would be themost affected group in the event of José María Villalta (Frente Amplio) government.

At the PLN, campaign manager Antonio Alvarez Desanti, said his party continues with a global campaign, with messages focused to certain segments of the population, through social networks.

Rodolfo Ulloa, representing the Frente Amplio, said “we will continue with our disclosure of proposals for a government and call on the people to vote for the FA. We have been very effective in reaching the young through social networks, a strategy that will continue”.

According to the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones (TSE), in addition to the aforementioned voter groups ,there  243.328 registered voters between 66 and 80 years of age,  and 69.139 voters between 81 and 114 years old.

Also on the voting list this year, for the first time in Costa Rica’s history, there are 12.644 Costa Ricans abroad that are eligible to vote. The TSE also says that a total of 10.824 “naturalized” Costa Ricans will be voting in this election.

Stay up to date with the latest stories by signing up to our newsletter, or following us on Facebook.