German Christians favour voting at 16


Central Europe


German students campaign in September 2021 for "Under 18" to lower the voting age in the country. Photo AFP, John Macdougall

In Germany, organisations for young Christians support that young people at 16 can cast their vote. The federal coalition government is working on proposals to legislate this nationwide.

In most countries, voting is only possible at 18. But there is much debate to lower this to 16. Germany needs a two-thirds majority in the Bundestag to change the Constitution.

The Christian magazine PRO asked Christian youth organisations what they think. And they seem to agree with the plans of the present government coalition.

The organisation “Christliche Jugenddorfwerk Deutschlands (CJD, an organisation that brings young Christians together) “expressly” welcomes the idea. Board member Oliver Stier also demands that young people over the age of 16 can be a candidate too. By this change, CJD sees the chance that “politics will be made more sustainable again”.

Essential for this is political education in schools and youth work, Stier says.


The organisation “Entschieden für Christus” (Decided for Christ, EC) thinks lowering the voting age is logical, “similar to accompanied driving at 17”, general secretary Klaus Göttler says. Although he suspects there are partisan considerations in the government project, he thinks young people can be encouraged to participate in society.

The “Bund der Katholischen Jugend” (Federation of German Catholic Youth, BDKJ) is positive and would go one step further. Federal chairwoman Lena Bloemacher told PRO that “even a voting age from 14 or even earlier” should be discussed. “In our intensive association work, we experience that young people are usually ready from the age of 14 to take on voluntary responsibility in various ways.” This is an age “at which we can definitely trust young people to make political decisions and take responsibility”.


The “Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Evangelischen Jugend in Deutschland” (Working Community of Protestant Youth in Germany, AEJ) welcomes the government’s ideas. In a resolution from 2006, the AEJ called for the voting age to be lowered to 14 at municipal, state, federal, European and church levels.

At the same time, AEJ consultant Daniela Broda sees the need for a higher priority for political education because this “is an important and necessary prerequisite for the personal, social and civil society participation of individuals in society.”

The “Christlicher Verein Junger Menschen” (Christian Association of Young People, CVJM) sees youth groups as “workshops for democracy”, according to Carsten Korinth, youth policy officer at YMCA Germany. “Young people are enabled here to discover gifts and skills and to stand up for their needs.”

According to Corinth, young people’s interest in politics has increased over the past 20 years: “They are by no means overwhelmed with a voting decision”, he thinks. “Their voices should be heard so that they can contribute their ideas.”


In the general German population, a majority of 62 per cent is against lowering the voting age, according to a survey by the research institute Insa. Also Federal President Steinmeyer came out in support for lowering the age, as Die Welt reported.



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