Admin l Monday, January 23, 2023
BERLIN – Different age limits for elections in Germany at a local, state and federal level lead to considerable uncertainty among young people as to whether they are allowed to participate or not, according to a survey.
The foundation said these findings were particularly evident in September 2021 on so-called Super Election Day in Berlin, where elections were held simultaneously at all three levels.
“We see that the patchwork of voting age limits has led to considerable misperceptions among young people,” said political scientist Thorsten Faas of the Free University Berlin, one of the study’s authors. These misperceptions, said the study, were particularly evident amongst lower social classes.
The study said about 10% of the 16- and 17-year-olds surveyed did not know they were eligible to vote in local elections and many thought they were eligible to elect parliamentary representatives.
The Otto Brenner Foundation, a research centre of the IG Metall trade union, surveyed 5,105 people between the ages of 15 and 20 in states in eastern Germany.
Some German states lowered the voting age to 16 for local and in some cases, state elections last November. Some will be allowed to vote in the 2024 European elections.
For federal elections, the age limit of 18 continues to apply, as the conservatives are against lowering it. The study showed that under-18s were generally angered by this.
Additional surveys conducted in the states of Brandenburg and Saxony confirmed the result of a 2019 youth election study that minors do not lack political maturity compared to young adults.