The lowering the voting age project team took part in a number of events at the Annual International Conference of the Political Science Association which took place at Nottingham Trent University from 14th-17th April 2019.
We had the honour of hosting the opening event of the Conference; a pre-conference public debate on Sunday 14th April at THINK, Cobden Chambers, Nottingham. The debate was entitled ‘Is it time to Lower the Voting Age? It was hosted by Dr Andy Mycock and involved 5 panellists with invited contributions from the audience. It was great to see so many people attending the event and to hear the fascinating range of perspectives from our impressive Panel (from Left to Right);
Natalie Robinson (UK Youth Parliament Alumni and Nottingham Youth Cabinet Mentor), Afua Acheampong (Vice President, Nottingham Trent Students Union), Eliza Larmond (Nottingham Youth Cabinet and Children’s Partnership Board), Dr Joe Greenwood (YouGov and London School of Economic), Lillian Greenwood MP (Labour, Nottingham South), Dr Andy Mycock (University of Huddersfield).
On Tuesday 16th April all 3 members of the lowering the voting age project team took part in an academic roundtable discussion on Votes@16 as part of the Young People’s Politics Group programme of conference panels. The event was chaired Dr Emily Rainsford of Newcastle University and also included Dr Ben Bowman (Manchester Metropolitan University) and Dr Joe Greenwood (LSE). Professor Jon Tonge presented our work exploring the similarities and differences between today’s debates and those which took place when the UK voting age was previously lowered (to 18) in 1969. The panel was well attended and a lively discussion ensued about the aims and implications of lowering the voting age and how this fits with long-term developments of franchise reform in the UK.
Our final contribution was on Wednesday 17th April when we were part of the panel The Politics of the Young: New Beginnings chaired by Professor Matt Henn of Nottingham Trent University. Dr Thomas Loughran presented the initial findings from our survey work comparing support for lowering the voting age among the electorate with 16 and 17 year olds themselves. We are very grateful that so many people attended these events over the 4 days of the Conference and we received very useful feedback and constructive comments for the project to take forward.