The Minister of Justice, Tuija Brax (green) has stated that she would support a sinking of the voting age (currently 18 ) to allow all those aged 16 years and above to vote. Minister Brax said she thinks this would increase the engagement of younger voters in political matters earlier. Members of other political parties, including some Swedish peoples’ party (Sfp) members and Left Alliance members have also stated this in the past.
Personally, I don’t have particularly strong feelings either in support or opposition to this. I suppose the arguments against a sinking of the voting age would be that younger people tend to be immature and thus could perhaps not be capable of making an informed decision on who to vote for – or that they haven’t grown up enough yet to sufficiently understand their own views. Personally, through having 2 children (and from more or less remembering being one myself!), I think such an attitude is rather pompous and underestimates many 16- and 17-year olds. Frankly, I think there’s probably a lot of people well over 18 who are still rather less mature then many 16- and 17-year olds; in other words, there are people who probably don’t make particularly informed choices long after they celebrate their 18th year.
The only really strong reason to keep things at 18 that I can think of is that 18 is the age of becoming an adult – it’s a marker point for many other things, whether it be drinking, smoking, driving etc. For simple reasons of being uniform and neat and tidy, keeping it at 18 is attractive. Also, you could argue that all the electorate ought to be 18 as they are in theory electing people who will make decisions on things like drinking, smoking, driving. You could, at a stretch, argue that people who are less than 18 shouldn’t be voting to influence decisions on things that the law doesn’t consider them mature enough to engage in yet.
We will see what happens. Certainly, anything that would engage younger people in the political process is worth investigating. As I’ve previously written, I have a lot of time for Tuija Brax. She comes across to me as a very capable member of our government and seems to have a good record in her decision making. Therefore, perhaps her instinct on this matter is also correct.