SHOULD 16 AND 17 YEAR OLDS BE ALLOWED TO VOTE?
The issue of 16 and 17 year olds voting has come up again at PMQs.
It was decided in 1971 that people at the age of 18 would have the right to vote, reducing the voting age from 21. A significant amount of time has passed since this decision and few can imagine reversing it. Indeed, many argue that young people today show even more of an interest in politics than previous generations.
The issue becomes even more thorny when discussing whether 16 year olds should be afforded the right to vote in national referendums. As a whole, Britain voted to leave the EU on 23 June 2016 by a margin of 2%; however some statisticians think that if the next generation were to be allowed to cast a ballot, the result would have been reversed. I myself was denied a voice on this most important of issues affecting my future, and I felt at the time that I was more informed than many of my older friends and family.
The Scottish referendum showed that 16 year olds are more than capable of engaging with complex issues of the national destiny, and have the energy and enthusiasm to add a new dynamism to our politics. In my view, it’s time for voteless teenagers to be given the rights I feel they deserve.