Calls to give six-year-olds the vote

Have your say: In each election, Costa Rica holds a Children’s Vote (although the results are not counted). © Andrés Madrigal

Should children get the vote? The United Kingdom is getting ready for a general election. You must be 18 or over to vote, but one professor thinks the age limit should be lowered to six.

What’s happening

The UK is getting ready for a general election on 12 December. The new Government will decide lots of important issues from Brexit to climate change.

Almost everyone over the age of 18 can vote in the election. However, one professor thinks that children should be able to vote too.

Find out more

Professor David Runciman is Head of Politics at Cambridge University. He thinks that children could help to solve many of the country’s problems.

“If a democracy gets stuck, it has to open up to fresh voices, that’s the lesson of history,” he says. “It’s dangerous to think children are irresponsible. Youngsters have their minds tuned to the issues of the future, the issues that will affect their lives.”

Ciara, aged 10, agrees. “I’ve seen lots of stories on the news about issues that affect the whole of my life, but won’t really affect older voters,” she says.

“In my school, we talk a lot about the importance of respecting rights. Everyone has an opinion and that includes children, and they have the right to that.”

Should children get the vote?

Some say…

Of course not. Children have very little life experience, so they do not understand how the world of politics works. It is an adult’s job to make sensible decisions for their child.

Others think…

Yes. Whether it is climate change or homelessness, children are very good at sensing injustice. They have the belief and imagination to change the world, far more so than jaded adults.

You Decide

  1. Should children be allowed to vote in elections?

Activities

  1. Write a short speech to your class, explaining why you would be a good Prime Minister.

Some People Say...

“If voting made any difference, they wouldn’t let us do it.”

Albert Einstein (1879-1955), German-born physicist

What do you think?

Word Watch

Government
The small group of people who run a country.
Democracy
A society where people vote to choose their leaders.
Irresponsible
Unable to take responsibility for your behaviour and act in a mature way.
Rights
The freedoms that everyone should have, regardless of who they are.
Injustice
When things are not fair.
Jaded
Tired of the world.

Subjects

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