New report argues for no minimum voting age

Date: 29th March 2018
Category: Respect for the views of the child

A new report by CRIN exploring which key child's rights issues could contribute to a 'rights-respecting' world sets out a wide-range of arguments on why children should be given the right to vote.

The report, entitled 'What Lies Beneath', aims to take a critical look at the work that CRIN, and the wider children's sector, do and identifies most effective action that could be taken to further children's rights.

In an effort to do this, several key issues are identified in the report including bodily integrity, age discrimination particularly concerning areas such as equal protection from violence, the use of child-friendly language and political rights.

In the section of the report which focuses on political rights, CRIN set out what the common arguments are for children being excluded from voting and challenge these. They also include a 'manifesto' of why children should be allowed to vote. Some of the examples given include:

  • Anyone should be able to vote if they are interested in doing so regardless of their age;
  • Denying the right to vote to groups who might not otherwise be heard, including children, is undemocratic;
  • Blanket bans on voting based on age amounts to age discrimination;
  • The objections against child suffrage are based on preconceptions rather than reasons or facts

The report argues that giving children the right to vote would allow them to press their representatives on issues that matter most to them and would allow them to have their right to be heard fulfilled in democratic processes.

Scotland is highlighted in the report as being in a small group of countries which allows citizens over 16 to vote in certain elections.