22 Nov 2022

Lowering the voting age boosts turnout- overseas experience

From Midday Report, 12:10 pm on 22 November 2022

Lowering the voting age boosts turnout and life-long political participation - that's the key finding of international research published by Oxford University on those countries that have made the change.

The Supreme Court has declared the 18-year-old minimum is unjustified age discrimination; but it hasn't said what the age should be. 

In Aotearoa, the right to freedom from age discrimination begins at 16 years old.

The Government's now planning to split the issue on lowering the voting age for council and for parliamentary elections.

Changing the age for local body elections only needs a simple majority of MPs, whereas changing it for national elections requires three-quarters of MPs to vote in favour. 

University of Edinburgh social and political scientist Dr Jan Eichhorn was an expert witness in the Make It 16 case. 

He told Māni Dunlop what happened overseas after the age was lowered, stressing the full benefits relied on making the change for both national and local elections.

You can read Dr Eichhorn's research here (external link)