Via the Guardian, an intriguing concept — children are citizens with a stake in the future (the largest stake in the future!) yet their interests are not adequately represented in elections. Is allowing parents to vote on their behalf a way to counter the disproportionate power of the elderly? Hungary is set to find out:
“Some 20% of society are children…This is quite a considerable group that is left out of representation. The interests of these future generations are not represented in decision-making. We know at first it seems an unusual idea, but in the 50s it was unusual to give votes to black people; 100 years ago, it was unusual to give votes to women.”
In a move that would be unprecedented in a modern democracy, Hungary’s new government is considering giving mothers with small children extra votes in elections.
The conservative Fidesz party has made several controversial decisions since coming to power on a populist rightwing agenda, including a crackdown on the media, but the latest proposal could be prove to be its most contentious.
[The concept is] inspired by the work of the American demographer Paul Demeny, who developed the concept in 1986. Under Demeny Voting, each parent is given half a vote for each child, permitting a split vote in the event that the parents have differing political loyalties.
The discourse on Demeny Voting first emerged in Germany and Japan in the 2000s as a solution to concerns that policy development is biased in favour of the elderly rather than young families. In early March, the Centre for Intergenerational Studies at Hitotsubashi University held a conference on the subject.