talking about lowering the voting age on Wisconsin Public Radio

On Wednesday, I was on the Kathleen Dunn show, which airs in Wisconsin and the upper Midwest. The title of the segment was “Partisanship among the Generations,” and Jocelyn Kiley from the Pew Research Center talked about the interesting results of their recent study on that topic.

By the way, what jumps out at me from their survey of 25,000 people is that a person’s specific birth year seems to influence her political orientation, with each year differing quite a bit from its neighbors. For instance, my birth year cohort (1967) seems more liberal than the years on either side. A likely explanation has nothing to do with the year of birth but rather the political events that occur about 18 years later, when the cohort first votes. The year-by-year variation undermines broad generalizations about 20-year generations.

After 30 minutes with Jocelyn Kiley, Kathleen turned to me and was mainly interested in our argument for lowering the voting age to 17 so that people can vote while they are still in high school. I’ve discussed that idea on other radio shows, but the Wisconsin public radio audience was much more enthusiastic. There were lots of callers; the audio is available here.

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About Peter

Associate Dean for Research and the Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Tufts University's Tisch College of Civic Life. Concerned about civic education, civic engagement, and democratic reform in the United States and elsewhere.