People voting in booths

POSTPONED: “Who should be able to vote?” – ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Citizenship,’ Old Joint Stock, Birmingham. Date TBC

Due to Coronavirus restrictions – 

COTO at Birmingham Salon 


Saturday 28 March 2020, running from 11.00am to 5.00pm

Upstairs,  , 4 Temple Row West, Birmingham B2 5NY

Who should be able to Vote?


Being able to vote in general elections is essential to democratic life. The term democracy comes from the ancient Greek term demos (people), and means that ‘the people’ rule, in distinction to monarchies, where one person ruled, or oligarchy, where a small group ruled. But who are ‘the people’? Who should have a vote?

The electoral franchise has, in different ways, become increasingly contentious in recent years. Some argue, for example, that the voting age should be lowered to allow more progressive youthful voices to decide the future. There have been denunciations of ‘low-information’ voters, who are allegedly manipulated by lies and algorithms. Should the franchise be extended to 16-year olds? And what about EU citizens and prisoners?


Greg Scorzo, philosopher, public intellectual, publisher and editor of Culture on the Offensive (COTO)

Fraser Myers, staff writer for Spiked and producer of the Spiked podcast

The session will be chaired by Lizzie Soden, creative director at Culture on the Offensive (COTO), freelance arts project manager, writer and digital artist/filmmaker.

Recommended reading

Labour members back proposal to give all UK residents voting rights, Frances Perraudin, The Guardian, 25th Sep 2019

Votes for 16-year-olds should be based on wider evidence, not just a need for participation,Andrew Mycock and Jonathan Tonge, The Conversation, 2nd February, 2018

Votes for 16-year-olds is a completely undemocratic idea, Brendan O’Neill, spiked, 28th October 2019

Prisoners’ voting rights: developments since May 2015House of Commons Briefing Paper, September 30, 2019

The session is produced by Helene Guldberg


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