Votes at 16: Making it a success
Report launch and discussion
17 January 2023 | 8am San Francisco, 11am Toronto, 4pm London, 5pm Berlin
Sign up for the event here
Hosted by d|part – Think Tank for Political Participation
SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University
Centre for Democracy and Civic Engagement, University of Maryland
Campaigns to lower the voting age to 16 have gained immense traction around the globe. Most recently, Germany announced a reduction for European Parliament elections and the New Zealand Supreme Court ruled that a voting age at 18 was incompatible with the country’s bill of rights. While we have been able to observe what happened when the voting age was lowered (at least partially) in an increasing numbers of countries (such as Argentina, Brazil, Austria, Estonia, Scotland or Wales – amongst others), new campaigns have also emerged in many places (with strong efforts underway, for example, in Canada, Australia and most recently Moldova). Numerous United States cities have also lowered the voting age, and a campaign in Culver City, California, held a public referendum on the topic that is within five votes of passing.
Research has repeatedly shown that lowering the voting age should not be seen as a concern, but rather an opportunity to increase political engagement of young people. However, we have also seen that the success of the reform does depend on its implementation. We therefore want to shift the focus from whether the voting age should be lowered to how it should be done to harness the full potential of such a change. For this purpose, Jan Eichhorn (d|part & University of Edinburgh) and Christine Hübner (d|part & University of Sheffield) have conducted a study that synthesises insights from researchers and campaigners across many countries to bring together learnings for how Votes at 16 can become a success. At this event, we will launch the main report presenting this research. It contains an overview of research findings and insights from interviews with academics and campaign practitioners to share their insights into how campaigns can be run to enact change and subsequently implement this change effectively.
The event will be chaired by Scott Warren (Fellow, SNF Agora Institute). After a presentation of the key insights from Jan and Christine, we will hear reflections from two campaigners: Jessica Blair (Electoral Reform Society – United Kingdom) and Aleksi Toiviainen (Vote16 Canada). We then hope for a lively discussion with all participants – and ultimately hope that the report will be a useful resource for many engaged in Votes at 16 campaigns or the implementation of enfranchisement changes.
Sign up for the event here.