Federal Voting Age Commission Launches Consultation

Sanctus – The federal Commission into Lowering the Age of Franchise in Federal Elections was officially launched by Xander Morgan, Justice Secretary today fulfilling a pledge by both the Democratic Left Party and the Green Party in their coalition agreement that the Government would begin formal deliberations into the issue that is a hot topic among young people.

Speaking at the launch, Secretary Morgan said that the Commission, chaired by former President of Sanctaria Helena Robinson, would have a consultation stage where petitions, submissions, and opinions could be lodged by members of the public, public society, and civil action groups on the matter of lowering the voting age in federal elections, currently set at 18. Morgan said that the Commission’s remit would be “all encompassing”, suggesting that the final proposal by the Commission, which is not binding on the Government, is not limited to solely considering where 16 should be the new age or not. He also clarified today at launch that “it may be the Commission recommends no change to the franchise age – that is also a valid proposal for the body to consider”.

The Commission will be free from government interference, and will have a budget allocated to it in order to carry out its work, but has been given a deadline of 31 December 2024 to submit their recommendations. This consultation stage, which will last for 6 months, is occur concurrently to a “roadshow” by the Commission where, according to President Robinson, town halls in major urban centres across Sanctaria will be held to hear from members of the public “in person”. “We hope lively debates will take place, as they are just as important as written submissions in informing the Commission’s eventual recommendation”, Robinson added.

While the Green Party promised during the 2022 general election to lower the voting age, the Democratic Left Party only pledged to “consider” the matter. The SCP, CUP, and NSP are all against lowering the voting age, with the NSP notably saying it should be raised to 25 “when individuals’ brains are fully developed” – such a call has not received widespread support.

SOULLA WILDE, Political Correspondent

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