On 10 November, 2022, we co-hosted a webinar with Prof John Wall and Dr Christine Huebner on children's right to vote
According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the right to vote is ‘universal and equal’ for all citizens – a principle reiterated in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as in other human rights instruments. And yet, most of those legally defined as children – a third of the world’s population – are currently denied this basic right.
This webinar brought together two speakers:
John Wall discussed his recent book, Give Children the Vote: Democratizing Democracy, which lays out the case for why all children should have the right to vote. This case is based on two central arguments: that children in general are sufficiently competent to vote, and that ageless suffrage would systemically benefit children, adults, and societies. The talk placed the children’s suffrage movement within its larger historical contexts, examined the range of objections that are usually raised against young people’s enfranchisement, and explored how children’s voting could be institutionalized in practice.
Christine Huebner discussed the lowering of the voting age in some elections in Scotland and Wales. There are many arguments for and against the extension of the franchise to children and young people, but little is known about how that would work in practice. Several countries around the world reduced the voting age to below 18, making available empirical data about what really happens when young people attain the right to vote. Based on research from Scotland and Wales, where young people aged 16 and 17 have recently attained the right to vote in some elections, the talk reflected on important aspects of implementing voting age reform in practice and the impact it could have on young people’s political participation and conceptions of citizenship.
The webinar was jointly hosted by the Childhood, Law, and Policy Network (CLPN) and the Centre for Research on Law, Equality and Diversity.