Ask Our Visitors: Should the voting age be lowered to sixteen?

Following on from our experiment in the galleries with post-its (which admittedly wasn’t an overwhelming success…), we decided to bring the testing out of the gallery space and into the landing outside Gallery One. The blackboard directly next to the lift seemed the perfect place to phrase questions to our visitors relating to current affairs and issues thatIMG_3516 might mean something to them.

Last month, to coincide with a debate in the House of Lords, we asked our visitors whether they thought the voting age should be lowered to sixteen. It seemed this stirred up some really passionate responses in our visitors and the blackboard filled up with answers in only a few hours!

The most popular answer was ‘no’, views were along the line of sixteen being too young and, as one visitor wrote, “the children will follow the ideas of parents”. There were only a few ‘yes’ votes- one visitor stating that “it is fair to let them have a vote”.  What do you think? Is sixteen too young to make an informed decision about voting or will lowering the voting age mean that more young people will become engaged in politics and the political process?

In November, we held a Q&A with Manchester MP Lucy Powell as part of Parliament Week. Lucy supports the idea of lowering the voting age and believes that it will force MPs into to schools, thereby having a positive effect on young people’s engagement in politics. You can hear more from Lucy on this subject and watch the whole Q&A on our Youtube page.

Since this experiment with the blackboard, we’ve been asking our visitors more questions based on current affairs and we’ve had some really interesting responses- stay tuned for the next update!


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