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Article

Access_open Too Immature to Vote?

A Philosophical and Psychological Argument to Lower the Voting Age

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2020
Keywords voting age, children’s rights, youth enfranchisement, democracy, votes at 16
Authors Tommy Peto
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article argues in favour of lowering the voting age to 16. First, it outlines a respect-based account of democracy where the right to vote is grounded in a respect for citizens’ autonomous capacities. It then outlines a normative account of autonomy, modelled on Rawls’s two moral powers, saying what criteria must be met for an individual to possess a (pro tanto) moral right to vote. Second, it engages with empirical psychology to show that by the age of 16 (if not earlier) individuals have developed all of the cognitive components of autonomy. Therefore, since 16- and 17-year-olds (and quite probably those a little younger) possess the natural features required for autonomy, then, to the extent that respect for autonomy requires granting political rights including the right to vote – and barring some special circumstances that apply only to them – 16- and 17-year-olds should be granted the right to vote.


Tommy Peto
University of Oxford.
Article

Negen argumenten voor en tegen het verlagen van de kiesgerechtigde leeftijd

Journal Res Publica, Issue 4 2011
Keywords voting age, political debate, enfranchisement
Authors Henk van der Kolk and Kees Aarts
AbstractAuthor's information

    Using literature, documents and parliamentary debates in Britain, Germany, The Netherlands, Austria, and Switzerland, nine arguments for and against lowering the voting age to sixteen are distinguished and critically assessed. The assessment is based on criteria such as logical consistency and empirical validity. It is argued that most arguments can hardly be defended with these criteria. However, this does not mean that the case for lowering the voting age is weak. This would only be the case if a voting age of eighteen is considered as valuable in its own right.


Henk van der Kolk
Henk van der Kolk is als universitair hoofddocent verbonden aan de faculteit Management en Bestuur van de Universiteit Twente. Hij geeft onderwijs in Methoden en Technieken en Politicologie. Hij publiceerde (samen met anderen) in onder meer PS, Electoral Studies en Local Government Studies. Hij is verder onder meer medeverantwoordelijk voor het Nationaal Kiezersonderzoek.

Kees Aarts
Kees Aarts is hoogleraar Politicologie aan de Universiteit Twente en wetenschappelijk directeur van het Institute for Innovation and Governance Studies (IGS). Zijn onderzoek richt zich op democratie, verkiezingen en kiesgedrag.
Article

Belgian Politics in 2004

Journal Res Publica, Issue 2-3 2005
Authors Sam Depauw and Mark Deweerdt
Author's information

Sam Depauw
Postdoctoral Fellow of the Fund for Scientific Research-Flanders at the University of Leuven.

Mark Deweerdt
Political Journalist of De Tijd.
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