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Understanding the Policy Drivers and Effects of Voting Age Reform

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Publication date6/01/2020
Host publicationLowering the Voting Age to 16
<mark>Original language</mark>English


A common feature of debates about lowering the voting age to 16 has been an absence of analytical research which might explain the historical or contemporary policy drivers for voting age reform or its potential effects. The following chapter provides the first such attempt to fill this gap in the literature, establishing and then applying a thematic analytical framework to explain the drivers of voting age reform. It advances a thesis which argues that there are at least four thematic models that we can apply to enhance our understanding of the policy origins, justifications, and impacts for reforming the age of enfranchisement. The chapter applies these models to understand policy drivers informing voting age reform in the UK over the past 50 years or so. The chapter concludes that contemporary voting age reform draws on the same policy drivers but that they differ from previous reductions of the age of enfranchisement in their context and importance.