Make it 16 campaigner will be able to vote in this year’s election

make it 16

The one-month postponement of the general election will see thousands turn 18 before October 17.

One for these people will be Gina Dao-McLay. She’ll turn 18 on September 27.

She said she would be focusing her vote on climate action and poverty.

Dao MClay also said people were talking about the political parties’ policies, and they were also very interested in the referenda on cannabis legislation and end of life choice.

She is co-director of a campaign group Make It 16 calling for a lower voting age.

“We should be able to have a say about issues which affect us like climate change. We are being overlooked in decisions being made,” Dao-McLay says.

She has been campaigning for the change since she was a high school student attending St Mary’s College in Wellington.

She was at the nation-wide campaign launched at parliament in September last year.

At the High Court in Wellington on August 24 Make it 16  requested Justice Jan-Marie Doogue make a declaration that the current voting age was inconsistent with the Bill of Rights Act.

“Extending the vote to 16 and 17-year-olds would uphold human rights and give us a more representative, better democracy,” Dao-McLay said before the hearing.

Doogue reserved her decision and said it would need considerable thought.

However, even if the declaration is made it would not change the law – Parliament would still need to do that.

That was the path taken to change the voting rights of prisoners. A small group of prisoners secured a declaration of inconsistency in the Supreme Court in 2018 before parliament changed the law so that prisoners sentenced to less than three years could vote.

Predominantly around the world, the voting age is 18.


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