Sanctus – Democratic Left Party leader Ethan Ringrose today promised that, if the DLP is returned to government, he will launch a commission into reducing the voting age federally from 18 to 16. Though stopping short of committing to a referendum on the matter itself, Ringrose did say any government he led would act on a commission’s recommendations on the matter.
Young people across Sanctaria have been agitating for votes at 16 for almost a decade now. The outgoing DLP government promised at the last election to examine the issue, but when asked over the last term of government, Secretary for Governmental Affairs Ben Jackson, Secretary for Equality Ann Ramirez, and Secretary for Families & Youth David Hughes all had said it was not a priority for their departments.
Ringrose’s promise today comes amidst polling that suggests a significant number of young voters aged 18-25 intend to vote for the Green Party in this weekend’s election. Dissatisfaction with the DLP after the last five years of their governance, as well as what some consider “too centrist” policies has bolstered the Green Party’s profile among college-aged voters in particular. The Green Party has been in favour of reducing the voting age to 16 since the 2013 general election. The issue of reduced voting age comes up as one of the top 5 issues that influence a voter aged 18-25 according to polling.
Pledging he will set up a commission to deliberate on the matter to refer back to the government, however, may not be enough for Ringrose and the DLP to win over these younger voters; the Green Party have said they will hold a referendum on the issue in the first 18 months of their government’s life should they be returned as the largest party this week.
GWEN COPLEY, Political Correspondent