Chris­tine Hüb­n­er and Jan Eich­horn pub­lished lat­est find­ings from their research into effects of low­er­ing the vot­ing age to 16 in a spe­cial issue of the jour­nal “Par­lia­men­tary Affairs”. Both arti­cles are freely acces­si­ble thanks to Open Access agreements.

In Low­er­ing the Vot­ing Age to 16 in Prac­tice: Process­es and Out­comes Com­pared Jan Eich­horn (with Johannes Bergh, Insti­tute for Social Research Oslo) writes about the struc­tur­al fac­tors that lead to and result from a low­er­ing of the vot­ing age in var­i­ous coun­tries. He dis­tin­guish­es between top-down process­es, which tend to be dri­ven by gov­ern­ments or polit­i­cal par­ties, such as in Cuba, Esto­nia, or Aus­tria, and bot­tom-up process­es, which are large­ly dri­ven by civ­il soci­ety actors, such as in Nicaragua, Brazil or parts of the USA, and effects on young people’s polit­i­cal action and attitudes.

With How Young Peo­ple in Scot­land Expe­ri­ence the Right to Vote at 16: Evi­dence on ‘Votes-at-16’ in Scot­land from Qual­i­ta­tive Work with Young Peo­ple Chris­tine Hüb­n­er con­tributes the first longer-term qual­i­ta­tive analy­sis of young people’s expe­ri­ences of a 16 vot­ing age. Based on longer-term work with young peo­ple in Scot­land, she con­cludes that vot­ing at 16 can lead to mixed expe­ri­ences — both pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive — among young peo­ple. A boost of con­fi­dence and polit­i­cal effi­ca­cy is weighed off against frus­tra­tion among Scot­tish young peo­ple about their lack of vot­ing rights in oth­er elec­tions and about a per­ceived gap between expec­ta­tions and real­i­ty regard­ing the role of schools.

Also includ­ed are con­tri­bu­tions on the debate in the UK (by Jon Tongue, Andy Mycock, Tom Loughran), on pub­lic opin­ion around the vot­ing age (by Joe Green­wood and Raynee S. Gut­ting) and on new civic imag­i­na­tion around the vot­ing age (by Ben­jamin Bowman).

Access the full issue here (with paywall)