First-time voters aged 16 ‘more likely to build voting habit than those aged 18’


oungsters who voted in local and Scottish Parliament elections for the first time aged 16 are more likely to retain the habit than older first-time voters, a study suggests.

Those able to vote at age 16-17 in Scotland were more likely to continue the habit of voting well into their twenties than those who were over 18, researchers at the Universities of Edinburgh and Sheffield said.

Research was funded by a grant from the Scottish Government.

The voting age was reduced to 16 in Scottish local and parliamentary elections as well as the 2014 independence election.

Experts now say the voting aged should be reduced to 16 across the rest of the UK.

But while first-time voters maintained a habit of voting, researchers said there was no longer-term effects of participating in politics more widely such as signing petitions or attending demonstrations.

The findings strengthen the case for enfranchising younger voters across the UK to improve long term voting behaviour

Inequalities in voter turnout among those from lower socio-economic backgrounds were reduced when voting aged 16 or 17, but these trends were not maintained as voters got older and standard patterns re-emerged as they moved into their twenties.

Lowering the voting age has had a positive impact on civic education. Those who had taken subjects such as Modern Studies at school voted in larger numbers as they grew older.

Researchers surveyed 904 young people between the age of 16 and 31 about their voting habits after the 2021 Scottish Parliament elections.

Data was compared from young people who could vote at 16 in the referendum on Scottish independence in 2014 or the Scottish Parliament elections in 2016 or 2021 to young people whose first vote was at 18 in general, local or Scottish Parliament elections since 2010.

The report makes recommendations such as providing more political education in schools through Modern Studies, and beyond.

Young people should also have more opportunities to discuss their views, the report recommends.

Dr Jan Eichhorn, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Social and Political Science, lead author of the study said: “Allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to vote was a good decision taken by the Scottish Parliament.

“Many younger first-time voters retain a habit of voting and participate in greater numbers than older first-time voters.

“The findings strengthen the case for enfranchising younger voters across the UK to improve long term voting behaviour.

“But more can be done. Making sure all young people receive great civic education that includes learning how to discuss political issues well, could help reduce persistent social inequalities in turnout.”

Parliamentary Business Minister George Adam said:“We welcome the results of this research, which we helped to fund, showing the positive impact that lowering the voting age has had and demonstrating our commitment to ensuring access to democratic participation for all citizens.

“Scotland has led the way internationally by lowering the voting age to 16 and I would encourage the UK Government to follow suit to similarly boost participation in all elections.”

Source link

Denial of responsibility! Planetcirculate is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.