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Voting At 16 Allows Young People Play Active Role In Public Life

category national | rights, freedoms and repression | press release author Thursday March 22, 2007 11:31author by Graham Ó Maonaigh - Labour Report this post to the editors

With the Local and European Elections set to take-place on the same day in 2009, the Labour Party believes it makes sense for all those aged 16 above to be allowed vote and encouraged to play their part in the democratic system.

Labour Party Spokesperson on the Environment,
Launching ‘Voting at 16’ Bill,
Thursday, 22 March 2007

"The European Parliament and Local Elections (Voting at 16) Bill that we are launching today is an important step in allowing young people play a full role in the decisions that directly affect their lives at local and European levels.

The Labour Party first proposed lowering the voting age for Local and European Elections in our manifestoes for those elections in 2004. We are repeating that commitment today and if elected we will ensure that all those aged 16 will be entitled to vote in the 2009 Local and European Elections.

In doing so we believe that young people will finally have a real say in electing representatives to local authorities and to the European Parliament and in influencing decisions taken at those levels.

Many of the decisions taken by Local Authorities impact directly on young people. Aside from the obvious matters relating to facilities and amenities designed for teenagers and young adults, other matters to do with public transport, cycle lanes, green spaces, and sporting facilities are of real relevance to those aged 16 and above.

Local Authorities have a direct impact on education matters. Vocational Education Committees are appointed by Local Authorities and all matters to do with student grants are administered and dealt with by the Local Authority. With many young people first attending third level institutions aged 17, it is only right that they should have a democratic influence over electing representatives to the body that administers their financial support.

Also the Transition Year syllabus that many 16 year olds take actively encourages them to learn about politics and the concept of citizenship. What better way and more practical way to complement this than by actually giving them the right to vote and to play an active role in public decision-making?

With the Local and European Elections set to take-place on the same day in 2009, the Labour Party believes it makes sense for all those aged 16 above to be allowed vote and encouraged to play their part in the democratic system. "

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author by Mishkinpublication date Thu Mar 22, 2007 11:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Why should people be allowed to vote when they can't sign any other contracts. For instance, they can't get a bill pay mobile phone in their name?

You can't get a mortgage at sixteen, yet you Labour think you should be able to elect the the people who set the tax rates?

This shows the contempt that Labour have for the democratic process- Party conferences with no voting, and now they want to give the vote to school children who they think they can buy off easily.

Very poor, and putting it all in capital letters doesn't make it better.

author by Goblinpublication date Thu Mar 22, 2007 12:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Or is the Right too scared of a huge bulk of voters coming into the fray who would by and large be more liberal in their thinking?

The political status Quo currently enjoyed by FF is based on projected dermograph figures and an astute understanding of the voter trend at present numbers on the register. This is factored into FF campaign strategy and directs them in where to saturate and where to consider safe in terms of canvassing. A sudden influx of up on 400,000 unpredictable voters would make the next election a lottery.

But to the cux of your arguement, considering 16 yr olds can hold down jobs and pay taxes then of course they should have a say on how those taxes are administered.

author by mishkinpublication date Thu Mar 22, 2007 12:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The right? Maybe Pat and Enda should be asked what "the right" think.

Tiny tots pay taxes when there is VAT on the stuff they buy with the pocket money.

People from Poland pay taxes and hold down jobs, as do many residents of Ireland from around the world.

Should they also have a vote? This is muddled idea, good for a soundbite and nothing else.

author by -publication date Thu Mar 22, 2007 13:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Representation and Franchise are social rights. If you now start withholding rights you turn them into privileges, and it is too ironic if you use the arguments heard during O Connell's time. Better arguments against extending the franchise to under 18s would be the political development & capacity for independent action shown by that group. Also it would be worth considering what would happen if other states followed such an example. I think Franchise ought be extended - we can never and ought never place the ne plus ultra on such - but before 17year olds or 16 year olds there are others living in, contributing to and participating in Irish society who do not have the right despite bearing the other obligations and duties of "the citizen". But please don't start thinking about tax. The state is not just about raising and spending tax revenue. Participation in society and Democracy are not just about franchise or election days. I reckon it would be better to encourage younger people to join social movements or non-partisan community based political projects - before chasing their vote.

author by Dubpublication date Thu Mar 22, 2007 15:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Labour are doing this as a pre-election stunt. I agree that voting should be extended to people over 16. A think any younger there are issues over maturity and capacity. At 16 you are entitled to leave school, you can work and pay taxes, you are also allowed a degree of legal rights (eg right to consent over medical matters). I know many 16 and 17 year olds and I support them voting. However Labour are not serious. They were in government before. What did they do then? They were in Ministries of education and environment in the 90s and did nothing to empower young people. Furthermore, and more importantly, who says that voting will empower young people? Voting means nothing when there is nothing worth voting for. I'm over 18, I spoilt my vote in the last local election as only FF/FG/Labour/PD were running. This little stunt to attract "youth vote" also exposes Labour's racial outlook. In this election Labour will play the race card.If in government with FF/FG they will blame immigrants. No mention of Labour being in favour of extending voting in all elections/referenda to non-Irish citizens over 18. Ireland today will have a substantial population not entitled to vote in the upcoming Dáil election.

author by Paulpublication date Thu Mar 22, 2007 16:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

this is a great idea. Polish people, as European Union citizens can vote in European Parliament elections, and as Irish residents they can vote in local elections. All people over 18 resident in a local authority area can vote in elections for that local authority, whether you are from Hiroshima, Springfield Mass., the Serengeti, or Bray.

author by leaving certpublication date Thu Mar 22, 2007 17:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I sometimes wonder are Labour intent on losing credibility. When I did my inter cert - I had just got up to the famine - franchise was restricted to men over 25 who paid rates and in most of the less than 20 places they could vote - it was linked to their professed faith. Great preparation that would have given me for franchise. From 16 to 18 I learnt about the ne plus ultra, women and people with melanin getting the vote - and then I learnt all about Hitler and Stalin.
let's just hope this is another lame kite being flown from ely place & nothing more. Argue for recpricoal voting rights throughout the EU. Ireland lags far behind her EU partners on this. non-resident Irish who are resident in other EU states are disenfranchised despite oddly enough still having the right to present themselves for election. I could be your president for example - except of course I'm a boy and my name isn't Mary. But allow the Labour eejits this change & presumedly also lower the age we expect our TD's and other representative to be - & Pitt the younger beckons. Pitt the younger's administration was really very lame. I learnt about that at intermediate level.

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