Young people from across Europe are lobbying their elected representatives to back Votes at 16, as the Council of Europe gets ready to discuss lowering the voting age on Wednesday 13 April.watch full film Get Out 2017
Representatives of European member states will meet to discuss votes at 16 at the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly – an institution that can investigate, recommend and advise actions to European nations.
The Parliamentary Assembly will talk about the proposed resolution ‘Expansion of democracy by lowering the voting age to 16‘, put forward by Miloš Aligrudić – head of the Serbian delegation. This resolution calls on member states to:
• create the necessary preconditions for the participation of young people in civic life through education and the promotion of community involvement
• investigate the possibility of lowering the voting age to 16 years in all countries and for all kinds of election
• examine the possibility of lowering the minimum ages to stand for different kinds of elections (local and regional bodies, parliament, senate, presidency) whenever advisable.
The full document can be read here.
Youth representatives from national youth councils and youth organisations across Europe, who are part of the European Youth Forum, have been talking to their Council of Europe reps to make sure they back the resolution and ensure every nation has to consider votes at 16.
Liam Preston, chair of the British Youth Council – the national youth council for the UK – said: “Youth councils across Europe want Votes at 16. We believe young people need to be more involved in our democracy and that states need to think about how they can increase our participation in civic life – through education, through community involvement, and through lowering both the voting age to 16“.
Currently you can vote at 16 in Europe if you:
• Live in Austria
• Live in Germany and are voting in Länder or state elections
• Live in the Isle of Man
• Live in Jersey
• Live in Guernsey
• Live in Hungary and meet certain criteria, for example if you are married before reaching the age of 18 you have full adult legal rights and can therefore vote
• Live in Slovenia and are employed
• Live in Norway and are part of the 20 selected municipalities that the government has given 16-year-olds the right to vote in the 2011 local elections, as part of a greater effort to get young people interested in politics.