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Voting with 16

By lowering voting age from 18 to 16, Austria took the lead in a widely discussed democratic reform process regarding the political participation of young people. SORA, the Institute for Strategy Strategieanalysen and Dr. Ulrike Kozeluh carried out a comprehensive post election study on young voters in the Austrian national elections 2008. The results yield insights into the political attitudes, values and practices of young people in Austria.

In the run-up to the national elections the potential effects of lowering the voting age were frequently discussed. The study shows that young people in Austria are not weary of politics at all. Steve Schwarzer, SORA co-ordinator of the study, says: „Many are interested in politics and take their newly acquired voting right very seriously. They are self-critical and recognise knowledge deficits which they at the same time try to overcome.“ Young voters are dissatisfied with the performance of politics and politicians. In general, they perceive a big distance between themselves and politics.

Download project summary (pdf).