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Voting at 16: Turnout and the quality of vote choice.

Wagner M, Johann D, Kritzinger S - Elect Stud (2012)

Bottom Line: Critics of giving citizens under 18 the right to vote argue that such teenagers lack the ability and motivation to participate effectively in elections.In addition, the quality of these citizens' choices is similar to that of older voters, so they do cast votes in ways that enable their interests to be represented equally well.These results are encouraging for supporters of a lower voting age.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Methods in the Social Sciences, University of Vienna, Rooseveltplatz 2/4, 1090 Vienna, Austria.

ABSTRACT
Critics of giving citizens under 18 the right to vote argue that such teenagers lack the ability and motivation to participate effectively in elections. If this argument is true, lowering the voting age would have negative consequences for the quality of democracy. We test the argument using survey data from Austria, the only European country with a voting age of 16 in nation-wide elections. While the turnout levels of young people under 18 are relatively low, their failure to vote cannot be explained by a lower ability or motivation to participate. In addition, the quality of these citizens' choices is similar to that of older voters, so they do cast votes in ways that enable their interests to be represented equally well. These results are encouraging for supporters of a lower voting age.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Alienation, indifference and impact of parliaments, age group differences. Note: mean values by age group shown; bars indicate 95% confidence intervals around the mean; dashed line indicates overall mean; see Appendix for question details.
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fig3: Alienation, indifference and impact of parliaments, age group differences. Note: mean values by age group shown; bars indicate 95% confidence intervals around the mean; dashed line indicates overall mean; see Appendix for question details.

Mentions: Finally, we further illustrate the attitudes of young people under 18 using measures of democratic disaffection and alienation, specifically the three indicators institutional trust, satisfaction with democracy and the perceived impact of politics on one's life (Fig. 3).16 These are related to measures of the motivation to engage effectively in politics. Surprisingly, our data show that trust in institutions among citizens under 18 is significantly higher than the overall mean among all citizens, so there is no indication at all of disaffection using this classical measure. In addition, satisfaction with national and European democracy among citizens under 18 is actually higher (and often significantly so) than among older citizens. Turning to the bottom-right panel, younger citizens do not differ from older citizens in the proportion who say that either the national parliament or the EP has a ‘strong’ impact on them personally. Given this evidence and their satisfactory level of political interest, there is strong descriptive evidence that the youngest citizens in Austria are not particular ‘turned off’ by electoral politics, democracy and political institutions in general – results which are quite contrary to those reported in the literature (e.g. Chan and Clayton, 2006). There is therefore so far little evidence in favour of H1b, so that there is little indication that citizens under 18 are less motivated to participate effectively in politics.


Voting at 16: Turnout and the quality of vote choice.

Wagner M, Johann D, Kritzinger S - Elect Stud (2012)

Alienation, indifference and impact of parliaments, age group differences. Note: mean values by age group shown; bars indicate 95% confidence intervals around the mean; dashed line indicates overall mean; see Appendix for question details.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4020373&req=5

fig3: Alienation, indifference and impact of parliaments, age group differences. Note: mean values by age group shown; bars indicate 95% confidence intervals around the mean; dashed line indicates overall mean; see Appendix for question details.
Mentions: Finally, we further illustrate the attitudes of young people under 18 using measures of democratic disaffection and alienation, specifically the three indicators institutional trust, satisfaction with democracy and the perceived impact of politics on one's life (Fig. 3).16 These are related to measures of the motivation to engage effectively in politics. Surprisingly, our data show that trust in institutions among citizens under 18 is significantly higher than the overall mean among all citizens, so there is no indication at all of disaffection using this classical measure. In addition, satisfaction with national and European democracy among citizens under 18 is actually higher (and often significantly so) than among older citizens. Turning to the bottom-right panel, younger citizens do not differ from older citizens in the proportion who say that either the national parliament or the EP has a ‘strong’ impact on them personally. Given this evidence and their satisfactory level of political interest, there is strong descriptive evidence that the youngest citizens in Austria are not particular ‘turned off’ by electoral politics, democracy and political institutions in general – results which are quite contrary to those reported in the literature (e.g. Chan and Clayton, 2006). There is therefore so far little evidence in favour of H1b, so that there is little indication that citizens under 18 are less motivated to participate effectively in politics.

Bottom Line: Critics of giving citizens under 18 the right to vote argue that such teenagers lack the ability and motivation to participate effectively in elections.In addition, the quality of these citizens' choices is similar to that of older voters, so they do cast votes in ways that enable their interests to be represented equally well.These results are encouraging for supporters of a lower voting age.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Methods in the Social Sciences, University of Vienna, Rooseveltplatz 2/4, 1090 Vienna, Austria.

ABSTRACT
Critics of giving citizens under 18 the right to vote argue that such teenagers lack the ability and motivation to participate effectively in elections. If this argument is true, lowering the voting age would have negative consequences for the quality of democracy. We test the argument using survey data from Austria, the only European country with a voting age of 16 in nation-wide elections. While the turnout levels of young people under 18 are relatively low, their failure to vote cannot be explained by a lower ability or motivation to participate. In addition, the quality of these citizens' choices is similar to that of older voters, so they do cast votes in ways that enable their interests to be represented equally well. These results are encouraging for supporters of a lower voting age.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus