Crossing Channels

Should children have the right to vote?

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Episode notes

Prof David Runciman and Prof Karine Van der Straeten talk to Rory Cellan-Jones about extending voting rights to school-aged children. 

This episode unpacks the main objections against lowering the legal voting age, the merits of extending democratic rights to children, and how children's voices might be better represented in electoral processes. Leading experts explore how the enfranchisement of children could revitalise our democracy and inject a fresh set of perspectives. 

This episode is hosted by Rory Cellan-Jones (former technology correspondent for the BBC), and features guest experts Karine Van der Straeten (IAST) and David Runciman (University of Cambridge). 

Season 2 Episode 7 transcript: insert link

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  • Audio production by Steve Hankey
  • Associate production by Stella Erker, Bennett Institute for Public Policy
  • Visuals by Thomas Devaud, Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse

Further reading:

About our guests:

Rory Cellan-Jones is a former technology correspondent for the BBC. His 40 years in journalism saw him take a particular interest in the impact of the internet and digital technology on society and business. He has written multiple books, including his latest “Always On” which was published in 2021. @ruskin147

David Runciman is Professor of Politics in the Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge. His research covers the history of modern political thought, with a particular focus on the history of democracy; theories of the state and political representation; the role of technology in democratic politics; generational and educational divides in contemporary politics. David created the Centre for the Future of Democracy as part of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy where his work focuses on democracy for children and young people. He co-hosted the weekly politics podcast Talking Politics, and was made a fellow of the British Academy in 2018, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2021.

Professor Karine Van der Straeten is a senior researcher at the CNRS (the French National Center for Scientific Research), a member of the Toulouse School of Economics and of the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse. Her research, which is at the intersection of economics and political science, focuses mostly on collective decision making in democracy. Recent topics include: institutions and corruption, citizen information and the quality of public decision-making, public opinion measurement, inequality and redistribution.