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“Democracy must be accessible to all”: popular initiative calls for the right to vote from the age of 16 in Berlin – Berlin

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An alliance of initiatives and civil society organizations is calling for the minimum voting age to be lowered from 18 to 16 in Berlin. To that end, this Thursday the collection of signatures for the popular initiative “Democracy for All” began.

In addition to voting from the age of 16, the state is asked to initiate a Federal Council initiative for the right to vote for people without German citizenship and to create the additional possibility of electronic registration for referendums.

“Red-Green-Red has announced that it will lower the voting age to 16, and we don’t want to wait any longer for that,” said Anna Weckert, spokeswoman for the popular initiative and active in “Klimaneustart Berlin”. “Young people want to have a say in the future of the city. My classmates and I collected signatures for various referendums in Berlin, but we were not allowed to sign them ourselves.” Nor could they have voted in the House of Representatives.

“In a democracy, everyone should have the opportunity to influence political decision-making processes,” explained Regine Laroche, spokesperson for the popular initiative and member of the board of directors of Mehr Demokratie Berlin-Brandenburg. Currently, however, up to 34.5 percent of people living in Berlin are excluded from this, for example due to their age and nationality. “We want to change that and that is why we have come together as committed people in this city.”

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The popular initiative is supported, among others, by “Berlin car-free”, “Expedition Basic Income”, “Deutsche Wohnen & Co. expropriate”, “Climate Restart Berlin”, “More Democracy eV” and change.org. “What unites us is working together for an inclusive democracy. We understand that democracy must be accessible to all without barriers,” Laroche said.

To be successful, 20,000 signatures must be collected. The organizers want to achieve this before March 27. The House of Representatives then has to deal with the demands in a public hearing. Red-Green-Red had announced in the coalition agreement that they wanted to lower the voting age to 16.

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