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Votes at 16. Making it a success

More and more countries around the world are discussing a lowering of the voting age, often with the aim of addressing young people’s electoral participation, their representation in politics and society, and intergenerational justice. Although empirical evidence from countries with Votes at 16 shows that the inclusion of younger voters in the electorate can, under certain circumstances, bring about positive outcomes, it is also clear that changing young people’s voting rights alone does not lead to more participation and better representation of young people.

Whether or not, and to what extent, voting age reform can bring about positive results for young people’s representation largely depends on its implementation: how a lowering of the voting age is campaigned for and how it is introduced in elections. To advise campaigners and policymakers how to best use the opportunities that Votes at 16 can offer, this report identifies recommendations on (1) how campaigns for Votes at 16 can succeed in putting the issue on the political agenda, and (2) good and bad practices for mobilizing young first-time voters when introducing Votes at 16.

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