Electoral Commission welcome – extension of franchise to 16 and 17 year-olds priority
Youth Council welcomes establishment of Electoral Commission, reiterates call for extension of franchise to 16 and 17 year-olds
The National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) – which represents organisations working with over 380,000 young people nationwide – has welcomed the establishment of the new Electoral Commission, which was announced by the Ministers Darragh O’Brien and Malcolm Noonan today. The NYCI is calling on the Commission to prioritise the examination of the extension of voting rights to 16 and 17 year-olds, ahead of the local and European elections in 2024.
Welcoming the establishment of the Commission, Paul Gordon, NYCI Director of Policy and Advocacy, said: “The Electoral Commission has an important role to play in ensuring that our democracy is inclusive, accessible and responsive to the needs of all citizens. We are pleased to see that the Commission has been established and it represents another positive step in the reform of our democratic processes.”
“With Local and European elections just over a year away, the Commission must make research on extending the vote to 16- and 17-year-olds a top priority, so Government can act quickly on any recommendations it makes.”
Last summer, Minister Malcolm Noonan committed to tasking the Commission to look at the experience of other countries, calling for certainty ahead of the 2024 elections.
“There is now a unique opportunity to build on the existing evidence base showing the positive impact the measure has had elsewhere and we look forward to working with the Commission to progress this work.”
Call for young people to participate in the democratic process
“We believe that extending the franchise to 16- and 17 year-olds is an important step in ensuring that young people are fully engaged in the democratic process. We have previously welcomed the new pre-registration facility, allowing 16 and 17 year olds to be included on a pending electors list in preparation for when they turn 18 and can use their vote. We also encourage all young people to take advantage of the new, simplified, online registration process and make sure they are on the electoral register,” concluded Mr. Gordon.
The NYCI advises that any young person that is not sure if they are registered or not consult www.checktheregister.ie. If they are not already on the register, they can now register online on the same website.