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CITIZENSHIP STUDIES
SHORT COURSE SOURCE BOOK MAY 2007
To be opened and given to candidates on receipt by the centre.
*CUP/T40919*

INSTRUCTIONS TO CANDIDATES • • • • • • Use this Source Book as part of your revision and preparation for the examination. You will be asked to use some of the sources in the examination. Your teacher will go through the Source Book with you, probably over several lessons. Make sure that you have read the sources. Check that you understand them and try to remember any key terms. Do some of your own research into the questions on page 3 of the Source Book. You may annotate the Source Book with your own comments and brief notes. You will be given a new copy of the Source Book in the exam. This will not include your comments and brief notes.

This document consists of 21 printed pages and 3 blank pages.
SP (NF/MML) T40919 © OCR 2007 [100/1466/4] OCR is an exempt Charity

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THEME: IS UK DEMOCRACY REPRESENTATIVE? Introduction
The United Kingdom (UK) is a representative democracy. People over the age of 18 choose representatives to promote their views in parliaments, national assemblies and on local councils. They do this by voting for the candidate who most closely represents their views in an election. In May 2005 there was a General Election in which people of the United Kingdom chose 646 Members of Parliament (MPs) to represent their views. The country is divided into 646 constituencies. The voters in each of these constituencies, vote for one of the election candidates to represent them in Parliament as their MP. In most constituencies, there are candidates from all the major political parties. These candidates are chosen, in advance, by party members. However, it is possible for anyone to stand as an election candidate as long as they are a citizen of the UK, Commonwealth or Irish Republic and over 21. People do this when they feel that none of the candidates from the political parties really represents their views. Of those people who voted in May 2005, 35% supported Labour Party candidates. The Labour Party had 356 MPs (65 more than the other political parties put together) and so formed a government to run the country with Tony Blair as Prime Minister. The Government can stay in power for up to 5 years without having to hold another election. When decisions have to be made in Parliament, the Labour Government is easily able to win the vote as it has a large majority of MPs and they usually support the Government’s proposals. This way of running elections for the UK Parliament has been largely unchanged since 1969 when people aged between 18 and 21 were allowed to vote for the first time. This followed the granting of the right to vote to most men over 21 in 1884 and most women over 21 in 1928. Some people think that it is time to make our democracy more representative of peoples’ views. There are campaigns to:
• •

Reduce the voting age from 18 to 16. Introduce a different way of electing representatives for the UK Parliament called proportional representation. This would mean that a political party would get a number of MPs that were in proportion to the number of votes it received across the country. (This system is already used in elections for the European Parliament.) Bring in more opportunities for people to have a special vote (referendum) on single issues such as whether the UK should remain a member of the European Union.

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3 Key Terms Elector. Someone who is able to vote. (Electorate is a word used to describe all those people able to vote.) Representative. Someone who speaks and acts on behalf of others. Constituency. An area of the country containing around 60,000 electors. This may be a town, part of a city or an area of countryside. Electors in each constituency select one MP. Candidate. Someone who stands in an election. In the UK, the members of political parties based in each constituency decide who should represent the party in an election. Representative Democracy. A type of government where electors choose candidates to speak and act on their behalf. Referendum. A vote where, instead of choosing a candidate, the electorate votes on a single issue. The representatives then have to follow the electorate’s decision on this issue. Proportional Representation. A system of voting where representatives are chosen according to the number of votes gained by a political party across a region or country. So, if a political party gains 10% of the vote, it will have 10% of the representatives. Electoral Commission. An official but independent body that makes representations to Parliament on the organisation and conduct of elections.

This Source Book is in two sections. Pages 4 – 9 focus on the background to politics, voting and elections. Pages 10 – 20 consider how far young people are interested in politics as well as the arguments for and against reducing the voting age to 16.

Use the Source Book and information from your studies to consider the following questions: • • • Why should people vote in elections? Are young people interested in politics? Should the voting age be reduced to 16?

Update and extend your knowledge and understanding by using information from the following websites: • • The Electoral Commission www.electoralcommission.gov.uk Votes at 16 www.votesat16.org.uk

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Politics, Voting and Elections
Source 1. Campaign Poster from the Electoral Commission Website designed to encourage people to vote in the General Election of May 2005. www.electoralcommission.gov.uk

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Source 2. Extract from the Electoral Commission Website www.electoral commission.gov.uk

Source 3. Extract from the Headsup Website www.headsup.org.uk
The general election is the most important event in British politics. It is the time when the British people vote to decide who will represent them in Parliament and govern the country. Candidates who want to become MPs must persuade electors that they are the most qualified to represent their interests in Parliament. The political parties are out to do all they can to show that they are the best choice to become the Government. Not only is the general election the most important political event, it’s also the most exciting. It’s on TV, in the street and dropping into inboxes. People talk about politics more than at any other time. HeadsUp is a place where young people can debate political issues and current affairs. The site is looked after by the independent Hansard Society with sponsorship from the House of Commons and DfES.

Why Vote?
Voting is the most important way to make your voice heard on the issues that concern you. Decisions are made on your behalf every day, ranging from what is happening in local schools and what recreational facilities you have, to national issues like healthcare and education, to global issues like defence and the environment. In many countries around the world, including the UK, people have fought to gain the right to vote. The right for women to vote on equal terms with men in the UK was still being argued about only 70 years ago. But having the right to vote is not enough. A strong and stable democracy also relies on people using their votes. By voting, you can hold your elected representatives accountable.

Source 4. Extract adapted from the Guardian Unlimited website www.guardian.co.uk

Hoon calls for compulsory voting
Patrick Wintour, chief political correspondent Monday July 4, 2005 Voting should be compulsory in Britain, Geoff Hoon, the leader of the Commons, will say today. Mr Hoon is the first cabinet minister to back enforced attendance at the polling booth as the government continues to debate the causes of Britain’s low turnout, especially among younger voters. He suggests non-voters should either be fined or alternatively voters should be given a small incentive such as a council tax discount for turning up at the polling booth.
Adapted from Patrick Wintour, Hoon calls for compulsory voting, 4 July 2005 © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2005

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Source 5. Extract adapted from the National Union of Students Website www.nusonline.org.uk

Why Should I Vote?
• • • I don’t believe in politics I’m not interested in politics Nothing can be done about it

Well, if you don’t do politics, there’s not much you do do. Politics affects YOU Politics affects almost everything. Politics decides how much tax you pay, what time you have to leave the pub, whether your train arrives on time. It decides whether you can afford somewhere to live, what your children are taught and whether you have to pay to see a doctor. Politics affects your life as a student. In 2003, Barclays estimated that average graduate debt was £12,500 (Barclays Graduate Debt Survey 2003). 58 per cent of students work during term-time to fund their studies (DfES Student Income and Expenditure Survey 2002/2003). Your vote helps to choose the people who make these decisions. Elections are our chance to have a say. Everyone should have a say in who is elected. There are a staggering 6 million students in the UK. That is 13% of the voting population. Imagine, for a second, if you will, the enormous impact of 6 million students voting on the issues that affect us. Imagine the shock the political parties will get when such a huge group use their voice to say enough is enough. There are students in every constituency and, in some, students form a majority of the voters. That means, if we vote, we have a massive impact. The National Union of Students is ensuring that students’ unions around the whole of the UK get up and vote for the issues that really affect us. You’re not too busy, you should care, and it does matter. You can make the difference. And if you think none of the parties represent you, well, get out there and make them!

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Source 6. Extracts adapted from BBC national and regional news websites May 2005 www.bbc.co.uk

The Voting System, Ballot Paper and How to Vote
HOW DOES THE VOTING SYSTEM WORK? The UK uses a First Past the Post system. To become an MP, a candidate simply has to win more votes than any rival in their constituency, not a majority of votes cast. Critics claim this means many people’s votes are “wasted” and want some kind of proportional representation, where the national share of the vote determines the number of MPs. WHO CAN VOTE? You must be registered to vote, be at least 18-years-old on polling day, be British or be a Commonwealth or Republic of Ireland citizen living in the UK. WHO IS BANNED FROM VOTING? The following are barred from voting in general elections: members of the House of Lords; convicted prisoners; anybody found guilty of election corruption within the last five years; people with learning disabilities or a mental illness who are incapable of making a reasoned judgement. IS VOTING COMPULSORY? No, people cannot be forced to vote, nor is registration itself compulsory. But those failing to return a completed registration form or giving false information can be fined up to £1,000. HOW DO I VOTE? Those registered to vote should be sent a polling card about a week before the election, naming your polling station. You should take the card with you to vote, although it is not compulsory and other identification can be accepted. You can also vote by post. HOW CAN I BECOME A CANDIDATE? To be a candidate, you need to have a nomination form signed by 10 voters from that constituency and a £500 deposit. Candidates do not need to be a member of a political party. The main parties have their own selection methods, usually involving the votes of local members. HOW CAN I SET UP A POLITICAL PARTY? All political parties have to be registered with the Electoral Commission, a process which costs £150. The commission will need the names of three party officials and details of the party’s finances.
From BBC News, May 2005

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Source 7. Extracts adapted from the BBC Website www.bbc.co.uk

How to Vote
1 EVANS 1
The Ballot Paper. This is completed by voters at the polling station or sent through the post by people who have applied for postal votes in advance.
Edith Evans 10 Acacia Avenue Nowhere City, NO17 7EP 2 Independent Party logo

FORD 2
Graham Ford 15 Hill View Nowhere City, NO29 UG

3
Party logo

4

WILLIAMS 3
Joseph Williams 32 High Street Nowhere City, NO39 NP

1. 2. 3. 4.

The ballot paper lists every candidate standing for election in alphabetical order. It also contains their address and the name of the party they represent – if any. Party names must be registered with the Electoral Commission, which can reject names. Candidates do not need to be linked with any official political party. If a party has a logo, it may appear on the ballot paper. In general elections, you can select only one candidate. You should mark your choice with an X, using the pencil provided in the polling booth.
2

1

3

At the polling station you do not have to show your polling card, but it may help officials.

To guard against duplicate voting, your name will be crossed off a checklist.

Your ballot paper will be stamped to validate it and numbered to combat fraud.

4

5

6

Take the paper to one of the polling booths, which are screened to ensure secrecy.

Put an X in the box next to the name of the candidate you want to vote for.

Then fold the ballot paper with your choice on the inside and post it in the ballot box.

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Source 8. Extract adapted from the BBC News Website May 6, 2005 www.bbc.co.uk
Tony and Cherie Blair leave 10 Downing Street to see the Queen
Johnny Green © PA / EMPICS

Source 9. The 2005 General Election Result. The table also shows the likely result if proportional representation had been used
% of the total vote Number of MPs elected The number of MPs elected if proportional representation had been used. 228 209 143 66

Main Parties

Labour

35.3% 32.3% 22.1% 10.3%

356 198 62 30

Tony Blair has won a historic third term in government for Labour but with a much reduced majority. Mr Blair promised to respond “sensibly and wisely” to the result, which the BBC predicts will see his majority cut from 167 in 2001 to 66. The Conservatives have mounted a strong challenge but their overall share of the vote will be similar to 2001. The Lib Dems have made big cuts into Labour majorities and look set to end up with around 60 seats.
From BBC News, 6 May 2005

Conservative Liberal Democrat Others

200 ral Election Gene

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Source 10 below shows you one of the closest constituency results in the UK.

Source 10. Election Result in the Crawley Constituency, May 2005
Candidate Party Labour Conservative Liberal Democrat British National UK Independence Democratic Socialist Justice Party Number of Votes 16411 16374 6503 1277 935 263 210 % of votes 39.1% 39.01% 15.49% 3.04% 2.23% 0.63% 0.50%

Laura Moffatt
Henry Smith Rupert Sheard Richard Trower Ronald Walters Robin Burnham Arshad Khan

Labour won by 37 votes 71,911 people were registered to vote in the constituency. 58% of these people actually voted.
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Are young people interested in politics?
Source 11. Extract adapted from the website of the Thomas Hardye School www. thomas-hardye.dorset.sch.uk

Green Party Squeeze Narrow Majority Over Lib Dems!
Students were at the Polling Booths on the 4th of May, just one day before the ‘real’ General Election. Voter Turnout was 49%, not bad for a constituency where there have never been any democratic elections before. The result was a victory for the Green Party who had a majority over the Liberal Democrats of just 31 votes. The count was made by Year 10 students. There were 1166 votes cast of which 44 were spoilt.

Source 12. Extract adapted from the Y Vote Mock Election website 16th May 2005 www.mockelections.co.uk

Young people vote Liberal Democrats in mock elections
The Liberal Democrats have won with an overwhelming majority of the vote of young people in the 2005 Y Vote Mock Elections. The Conservatives were voted in second place and Labour in third. Approximately 800,000 pupils at more than 2,100 schools registered for the Y Vote Mock Elections – making this year’s the largest in the programme’s 50 year history. Michael Raftery, Mock Elections Project Manager at the Hansard Society, said: “The results indicate that young people often take a greater interest in broader issues that they feel passionate about, such as the environment. This has led to a far larger number of votes cast for singleissue parties than in the general election.”
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The Moment of Victory For The Green Party

Year 10 Students Counting The Results on Election Day

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Source 13. Poll for Radio 1 Newsbeat, May 2005, adapted from BBC press release www.bbc.co.uk
Only 31% of Britain’s first time voters say that they will definitely be voting in the General Election on 5 May, according to a poll by ICM for BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat programme. (ICM Research interviewed 1,078 first time voters face to face.) The poll found reasons for not voting among the young are mainly that they “can’t be bothered” (32%) or that they believe “their vote won’t make any difference” (30%). Around one in five said it was because they “didn’t know enough about politics”. The survey found that if people were able to use other voting methods there would be more voting. If text voting was allowed 59% say they’d be more likely to vote – and if the on line voting was possible, 56% would be “more likely to vote”. First time voters were asked what would be the first thing they would do if they were Prime Minister for a day. • 20% said they would spend more on the NHS; 17% would pull British troops out of Iraq; 15% would raise the minimum wage; 14% would abolish university tuition fees.

Source 14. Extract adapted from the website of the UK Youth Parliament www.ukyouthparliament.org.uk A web site poll conducted by the UK Youth Parliament (UKYP) indicated that a massive 60% of young people would be voting in the general election. The UKYP, a registered charity, aims to give young people a voice on issues that affect them. The poll participants ranged from first time voters, coming to the end of their representative age in the Youth Parliament, and young people with an interest in the UKYP who visited the web site.

Members of the UK Youth Parliament

Source 15. Results of YouGov Poll, March 2005
A YouGov poll of 776 young people aged over 18 found that more of them had voted in TV shows such as Pop Idol and Big Brother than intended to vote in the general election. Less than 40% planned to vote in the election but 46% had voted for contestants in TV shows. The poll found that 74% claimed to be “very interested in issues such as taxation, the health service and the environment. Only 42% said that party politics was interesting.

• •

Commenting on the survey, the Editor of Radio 1’s Newsbeat said: “The poll shows that first time voters do care about the issues that affect their daily lives, but have little confidence in politicians, the parties and the electoral system.”

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Source 16. Extract adapted from the website of the Citizenship Foundation www.citizenshipfoundation.org.uk

News Item: 9 February, 2005

Political apathy amongst young people is ‘a myth’, says new research
Findings from new research on behalf of the Electoral Commission claims that young people’s interest in political issues is growing. In a survey of 1,000 young people, 81% of 16-20 year-olds said they felt strongly about political issues such as crime and education. 73% of 16-20 year olds discuss current affairs and issues with their friends and family. Asked what they would do if they felt strongly about an issue: • • • • • 80% said they would sign a petition, 52% would contact a politician, 48% would take part in a demonstration or rally, 42% would boycott a service or product. 39% would campaign for a political party (35% would join one).

Source 17. Extract adapted from the website of the Economic and Social Research Council www.esrc.ac.uk

Political interest and engagement among young people (Research Study, May 2000)
The research found different groups of young people, each of whom varied in their level of interest in politics and the way in which they showed this interest. • • • Group 1. No interest in politics; they disliked politics and shared a general view that politics is boring. Group 2. Sometimes interested and only got involved with politics when it was about an issue which was of concern to them. Group 3. Interested in general current affairs and issues that were personally relevant but did not get actively involved. They tended to be at an early stage in the development of their views about politics. Group 4. Highly interested in politics. Of all the groups, these young people tended to have the best understanding of politics.
From the Findings: Political interest and engagement among young people published in 2000 by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Reproduced by permission of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation
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Should the voting age be reduced to 16?
Source 18. Extract adapted from the BBC Website May 19, 2004 www.bbc.co.uk

Old enough to fight – old enough to vote?
So you've hit 16 – at that age you can pay taxes, have sex, join the army and smoke, but the government apparently still thinks you're not old enough to vote. Serena Smith (16), from Gloucester, wondered why: "We can do everything except buy alcohol basically, so why shouldn't we be able to vote?" Why indeed? If we did lower the voting age, the UK would have the lowest voting age in Europe and it would add an extra 1.3 million people to the electorate.

Old enough? Many politicians think this is a good idea as it would encourage more people to vote, and from an earlier age. Joe Sergeant (16), thought that a lower voting age would be a good idea: “It gives us more choice as people, we can have more influence because of how we can vote. If the age was lowered then I think it would be good for all of us really.” But many are opposed to this idea, believing that at 16 you are just too young to make these political decisions. They accuse reformers of just trying to gain favour with young voters.
Extract adapted from the BBC Gloucestershire Website, 19 May 2004, www.bbc.co.uk/gloucestershire

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Source 19. Home page of the Votes at 16 pressure group, May 2005. www.votesat16.org.uk

Source 20. International Comparisons of Voting Age
The most common voting age around the world is 18. Some countries have different ages for different types of election. The youngest voting age is 15, which is used in Iran (for both men and women). A number of countries use the age of 16, including Brazil, Nicaragua, Cuba, the Philippines and Bosnia Herzegovina. Indonesia has a voting age of 17. Recently, a number of regions in Germany have reduced the voting age for council elections to 16. In elections in Hanover, turnout among 16 and 17 year olds was in fact higher than among those aged 18-35.
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Source 21. Extract adapted from the website of the Conservative Party, April 2004. www.conservatives.com

Source 22. Extract adapted from the Guardian website www.guardian.co.uk

Labour to back votes at 16
Patrick Wintour, chief political correspondent Monday March 22, 2004 Labour is backing a reduction in voting age to 16 in an attempt to reconnect young people with the political system. The party’s policy forum agreed at the weekend that there was “a strong case” for cutting the voting age to 16. Until now, Labour has been neutral on the issue. The party agreed to wait for an electoral commission report on the issue before acting, but the commission is widely expected to support cutting the voting age to 16, amid concerns that a new generation of voters has turned its back on mainstream politics. (See also Source 30) The party also agreed that the minimum age for standing in national elections should be reduced to 18.
From Patrick Wintour, Labour to back votes at 16, 22 March 2004 © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2005

Conservatives support 18 year old councillors and MPs
Conservatives have called for people as young as 18 to be allowed to stand for election to Parliament and local councils. However, the party remains opposed to a cut in the minimum voting age to 16.
Explaining the party’s position, MP Charles Hendry, said: “Lowering the voting age will do nothing to deal with the underlying causes of lack of interest and participation among young people – it would just reduce the average level of turnout.” However, he explained: “Conservatives believe that the voting age and candidacy age should both be 18. Such an age is widely accepted as a major turning point, marking the time when a young person becomes an adult. “Opening the door to younger elected representatives – such as 18 year old councillors – will do far more to re-engage young people in politics and create a new tier of representatives who can champion the issues that young people are concerned with.”

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Source 23. Extract adapted from the National Union of Students’ website www.nusonline. org.uk
NUS believes in: Equality of Expression Not letting 16 year olds vote gives the impression that young people's views are not valid and young people are not real citizens. Consistency There is a great inconsistency about the age at which a person can vote, compared with the age at which young people can leave school, work full time, pay taxes, leave home, join the armed forces and receive social security benefits. Citizenship With the introduction into the national curriculum of citizenship education from the ages of 5-16, at 16 a person will have the ability to make an informed choice in an election. Moral Right The arguments put forward for not letting 16 year olds vote are the same as those put forward in the past for not allowing women a vote, that they were too innocent of the world and that those who had the right to vote knew what was best for them. Those arguments are as wrong now as they were then.
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Source 24. Extract adapted from the website of the Liberal Democrats, February 2004. www.libdems.org.uk

KENNEDY CALLS FOR VOTES AT 16 TO HELP TACKLE VOTER DISENGAGEMENT
Speaking at Westminster Day 2002, organised by Liberal Democrat Youth and Students, Liberal Democrat Leader Charles Kennedy said: “You’re allowed to marry when you’re sixteen. You can join the army. And you can pay tax. Why shouldn’t you be able to vote too? “The worrying thing about elections is how few people turn out to vote. Contrast that with the five million plus people who vote in the Pop Idols polls. I think you’d engage a lot more people in the political process if you allowed them to vote younger. And it would also make politicians pay far more attention to the needs and opinions of people in their late teens. “When we call for votes at 16, we’re drawing on a very important Liberal Democrat belief. We trust people to make decisions for themselves. The more responsibility you give them, the more responsible they will be.”

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Source 25. Poster produced by Votes at 16. www.votesat16.org.uk

Source 26. Extract from the Votes for Adults website www. votesforadults. typepad.com
The ‘Votes at 16’ campaign claim that it is morally right to extend the vote to 16 and 17-year olds. They claim that the arguments used against votes at 16 are the same as those that were used to deny the vote to women. They say that such arguments ‘are as wrong now as they were then’. It is wrong to compare children and groups excluded from voting in the past such as women. The difference is that children grow up! A 16-year old will be allowed to vote when older, which was not the case with women before 1918. Denying the vote to 16-year olds is not, therefore, inconsistent or discriminatory since they are not in the same position as women were at the start of the 20th century.

Source 27. Sample letter to MPs asking them to support a parliamentary motion to reduce the voting age to 16.
(The sample letter was produced by the Votes at 16 pressure group www. votesat16.org.uk. The Early Day Motion was proposed by MPs from 5 political parties including Liberal Democrat MP Matthew Green.)

House of Commons London SW1 0AA Dear (THE NAME OF YOUR MP) RE: Early Day Motion 1301 REDUCING THE VOTING AGE TO 16 I am writing to you to ask you to sign EDM 1301, which calls for the voting age to be reduced to 16 years. I believe that the Electoral Commission’s recommendation that the voting age “should remain at 18 years for the time being” is very disappointing. It sends a message to young people that their views do not matter and will increase their disconnection from formal politics. Young people’s lives are as rich and varied as at any other age. They have considerable responsibilities, and routinely make complex decisions, but they are still not allowed to vote. This seems unfair. I would be grateful if you showed your support for votes at 16 by signing EDM 1301 Yours Sincerely, (YOUR NAME)
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Source 28. Opinions on reducing the voting age from the websites of Childrens’ Express (www.childrens-express.org) and the Citizenship Foundation

“If weʼre not responsible enough to drive at 16, then we shouldnʼt really be responsible enough to vote. At 16 the majority of students arenʼt actually mature enough to make responsible decisions about who they actually want in power and to lead Britain.”

“I donʼt think that I would make the right decisions, because I donʼt know enough about politics. I think young people would use their vote, but some may abuse it and vote for any old party.” “Young people would just vote the way their parents vote or they wonʼt vote at all. I think we should leave things as they are.”

“Within limitations, the wider pool of voters we have, the better it is for democracy, as it increases representation.”

The internet, together with growth of TV channels has led to a huge increase in the amount of information available to young people in particular. Such information covers many topics, but many young people are far more news aware than before.

Students in years 12 and 13 are capable of taking an active and lively interest in politics.

Anyone who has stood as a parliamentary candidate in a general election would agree that school students in their A-level years are one of the most challenging and lively audiences that one could meet.”

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Source 29. Article adapted from the Times Online 13 April 2004 www. timesonline.co.uk

They’re making a song and dance about voting at 16
By David Denver YOUNG people used to have a special birthday party when they reached the age of 21. “I’ve got the key of the door, never been 21 before,” would be sung because that was the agreed age of majority. Although various rights are gained when people are still teenagers, maturity comes rather later. That might have been considered by the Electoral Commission, which seems to be about to recommend the voting age be lowered to 16. Such a proposal flies in the face of public opinion and would put Britain out of line with all other established democracies. In the course of the commission’s consultations, those supporting the case for votes at 16 have made much of the fact that important rights and duties start at 16. Young people at that age can leave school, pay taxes, join the Army, get a passport, buy cigarettes, engage in consensual sex and get married. The “Votes at 16” website includes a picture of a bride whose wedding day appears to have been ruined because she does not have the vote. If these sorts of things can be done at 16, the argument runs, then why not include voting? Nowadays, hardly any 16-year-olds get married and no adult in their right mind would advise them to. Most are still students and do not pay taxes (the “no taxation without representation” cry is undermined because everyone, including children pays indirect taxes). Those who join the Army at 16 may not see frontline duties until the age of 18 (under a UN agreement). The argument also ignores that other rights that come later. Very sensibly, the legal age for driving is 17 (and later for heavy goods vehicles and buses); alcohol can only be purchased at 18. Not many people would seek to lower these ages and it is worth noting that in other areas – the purchase of tobacco and fireworks, for example – campaigners are seeking to raise the legal age. There is, of course, no single age at which people reach maturity. That different rights and duties are gained at different ages recognises this. Just because one right is granted at 16 does not mean that an unrelated right should also be granted at the same age. Who would want to be tried by a jury of 16-year-olds? What does the right to have sex have to do with voting? David Denver is Professor of Politics at Lancaster University
© Professor David Denver/The Timesonline, 13 April 2004

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Source 30. Press release adapted from the Electoral Commission website www.electoralcommission.org.uk

Voting age should stay at 18 says The Electoral Commission
Monday 19 April 2004

The Electoral Commission today recommended that the minimum age for all levels of voting should stay at 18 years, but that the minimum candidacy age should be reduced from 21 to 18. The Commission began its review partly in response to a specific request by young people themselves that we seriously consider the arguments for lowering the voting age. Arguments that influenced the decision of The Electoral Commission to recommend keeping the minimum voting age at 18 included: • • International comparisons – most countries have a minimum voting age of 18. Minimum age limits and maturity – there is no single definition of maturity. Other agerelated rights vary widely and none are directly comparable with the right to vote or stand at elections. Research carried out among the public on behalf of The Electoral Commission suggested strong support for keeping the current minimum voting age. Young people themselves were divided on whether they were ready to be given voting rights at 16. The majority of the 7,500 responses received by the Commission to its consultation were in favour of lowering the voting age to 16. Voter turnout – evidence suggests that lowering the voting age would decrease the overall percentage turnout in the short term due to the additional numbers of eligible but disengaged voters.

Sam Younger, Chairman of The Electoral Commission says: ‘The evidence from the review suggests that while many young people under 18 would feel ready to vote, there are just as many who feel that 16 is too young. The majority of the young people in the ICM research made it clear that they don’t feel ready for the responsibility of voting at 16 and that has helped inform our recommendations.’

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Copyright Acknowledgements: © The Electoral Commission, www.electoralcommission.gov.uk Reproduced by kind permission of The Electoral Commission From Why vote? © The Electoral Commission, www.electoralcommission.gov.uk Reproduced by kind permission of The Electoral Commission Source 3 text From www.headsup.org.uk © Hansard Society. Reproduced by kind permission of the Hansard Society Source 4 text Adapted from Patrick Wintour, Hoon calls for compulsory voting, The Guardian, 4 July 2005 © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2005 www.guardian.co.uk Source 5 text © National Union of Students, www.nusonline.org.uk Reproduced by kind permission of the National Union of Students (NUS) Source 6 text The Voting System, Ballot Paper and How to Vote, May 2005, © BBC News, http://news.bbc.co.uk Reproduced by kind permission of BBC News Online Source 8 text From Blair secures historic third term, 6 May 2005, © BBC News, http://news.bbc.co.uk Reproduced by kind permission of BBC News Online Source 8 photo Johnny Green © PA/EMPICS Source 11 text and images From Green Party Squeeze Narrow Majority Over Lib Dems © Thomas Hardye School, www.thomas-hardye.dorset.sch.uk Reproduced by kind permission of the Thomas Hardye School Source 12 text and logo Extract from Young people vote Liberal Democrats in mock elections, 16 May 2005 © Hansard Society / Y-Vote MockElections, www.mockelections.co.uk Reproduced by kind permission of the Hansard Society Source 13 text Adapted from Apathy on rise among first time voters, according to Radio 1 poll, 3 May 2005 © BBC, www.bbc.co.uk/pressrelease Reproduced by kind permission of the BBC Source 14 text and image From Young people make their mark with the UK Youth Parliament, 6 May 2005 © UK Youth Parliament, www.ukyouthparliament. org.uk Reproduced by kind permission of UK Youth Parliament Source 15 text © YouGov Plc, www.yougov.com Reproduced by kind permission of YouGov Source 16 text and logo Adapted from Political apathy amongst young people is ‘a myth’, says new research, 9 February 2005 © Citizenship Foundation, www.citizenshipfoundation.org.uk Reproduced by kind permission of the Citizenship Foundation Source 17 text From the Findings: Political interest and engagement among young people published in 2000 by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Reproduced by permission of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation Source 18 text and image From Old enough to fight – old enough to vote?, 19 May 2004, BBC Gloucestershire, www.bbc.co.uk/gloucestershire Reproduced by kind permission of BBC Gloucestershire Source 19 webpage © Votes at sixteen, www.votesat16.org.uk Reproduced by kind permission of Votes at Sixteen Source 21 text, logo and image © Conservative Party, www.conservatives.com Reproduced by kind permission of the Conservative Party Source 22 text From Patrick Wintour, Labour to back votes at 16, The Guardian, 22 March 2004 © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2005 www.guardian.co.uk Source 23 text © National Union of Students, www.nusonline.org.uk Reproduced by kind permission of the National Union of Students (NUS) Source 24 text and logo From Kennedy argues for votes at 16 to help tackle voter disengagement, 4 February 2002 © Liberal Democrats, www.libdems. org.uk Reproduced by kind permission of the Liberal Democrats Source 25 poster © Votes at sixteen, www.votesat16.org.uk Reproduced by kind permission of Votes at Sixteen Source 26 text From Six arguments against votes at 16 © Votes for Adults, www.votesforadults.typepad.com Reproduced by kind permission of Votes for Adults Source 27 text © Votes at sixteen, www.votesat16.org.uk Reproduced by kind permission of Votes at Sixteen Source 29 text From Professor David Denver, They’re making a song and dance about voting at 16, © The Times, London, 13 April 2004, www.timesonline.co.uk Source 30 text From Voting age should stay at 18 says The Electoral Commission, 19 April 2004 © The Electoral Commission, www. electoralcommission.org.uk Reproduced by kind permission of The Electoral Commission Permission to reproduce items where third-party owned material protected by copyright is included has been sought and cleared where possible. Every reasonable effort has been made by the publisher (OCR) to trace copyright holders, but if any items requiring clearance have unwittingly been included, the publisher will be pleased to make amends at the earliest possible opportunity. OCR is part of the Cambridge Assessment Group. Cambridge Assessment is the brand name of University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES), which is itself a department of the University of Cambridge.
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