The trial of reduced voting age to 16 for the local elections in 2015

Published under: Stoltenberg's 2nd Government

Publisher Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development

As a measure to strengthen political participation and commitment among young people, the government proposed a trial in which the voting age would be reduced to 16.

The question of reducing the voting age has been discussed on various occasions and was raised once again while working on St.meld. No. 33 (2007-2008) A strong local democracy. As a measure to strengthen political participation and commitment among young people, the government proposed a trial in which the voting age would be reduced to 16. The most important reason was that this could be a way of encouraging more young people into the role of active participants in the local community. One can find out whether the opportunity to participate in this group leads to greater awareness among young citizens of their role in local community life and the opportunity to influence local conditions.

 

When debating the report, the Storting agreed to the government proposal to hold an experiment by giving the right to vote to young people whose 16th or 17th birthday falls in election year.
On 14 April 2009, all the municipalities in the country were invited to apply to take part in the experiment. There was overwhelming interest in participating. Altogether applications were received from 143 municipalities. The local council of Longyearbyen in Svalbard also sent in an application to participate in the trial. The trial municipalities were selected on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Size (number of residents)
  • Geography
  • Political composition
  • Location
  • Composition by age group
  • The municipality’s policy for involving young people

20 municipalities were selected, and all the counties in the country with the exception of Oslo are represented. Longyearbyen local council will also take part in the trial.

The experiment was held in the local elections on 12 September 2011. The evaluation of the trial will be carried out by the Institute for Social Research and the Uni Rokkan Centre.

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