Should the UK lower the voting age to 16?
This new e-collection from Democratic Audit, edited by DA’s Sean Kippin and Richard Berry, seeks to promote the best debate about the merits or otherwise of the cross-party proposal to lower the voting age from 18 to 16. Published in collaboration with the PSA, it Features expert contributions from Richard Berry & Sean Kippin, Sarah Champion MP, Kyle Thornton MSYP, Benjamin Bowman, Markus Wagner & Eva Zeglovits, Craig Berry, Andy Mycock and Jonathan Tonge, Mark Harper MP, Dan Degerman and Andrew Russell.
At Democratic Audit, we believe that enfranchising 16 and 17 year olds is the right thing to do. We know that lowering the voting age will not, on its own, solve the wider problem of youth disengagement from politics. But, as Benjamin Bowman argues in this collection, it can be an important part of that effort.
We support the change because it means enfranchising people while they are still members of settled communities, helping them to pick up the habit of voting at an early age. We also believe granting 16 and 17 year olds the right to vote means fewer 18 and 19 year olds will miss out on casting a vote due to the timing of elections. Most significantly, we believe the evidence is clear that 16 and 17 year olds are mature enough to participate in our democracy, and a great many of them wish to do so – with the piece by Markus Wagner and Eva Zeglovits in this collection particularly encouraging in this regard.
However, our main objective is not simply to provide a platform for the most articulate proponents of a reform we’d be happy to see. Rather, our primary aim is to promote a more enlightened debate about the proposal. With this e-collection, we hope to achieve this.