Thursday, 11 October 2012

Vote at 16?

Should the voting age be lowered to 16?  The issue is back on the agenda as Alex Salmond is keen for 16-17 year olds to take part in the Scottish Referendum in 2014.

This rather bad-tempered article from the Guardian suggests there is little point in doing so, as "young people" are too involved in their personal lives to bother to vote.

"At a time when the non-voting habit, civil disengagement, is creeping upwards towards 30...I see little point in making the turnout figures even worse by inviting 16-year-olds to join an election party most of them won't want to attend."
Do you agree with this analysis? What can be done to stop apathy amongst young voters? Please let us know.
PS: Here is the official "Votes at 16" campaign's website.


  1. Here is an example comment for you

  2. I do not believe that 16-17 year olds should be allowed to vote because at this age we are not mature enough to have the right to decide who should govern our country. Few 16-17 year olds actually care about politics or anything related to the government so it would essentially be a waste of time allowing us to vote. Aswell as this many adults do not take us seriously so I doubt that politians will agree with anything we have to say and it will just be a waste of time. At the moment the country is struggling with getting 18-24 year olds to vote so clearly 16-17 year olds being able to vote will be an even bigger disaster. However I do believe that young people should be more educated about politics so when they do reach the age of 18 they actually go and vote, this way people may take young people more seriously if they are using their right to vote.

  3. This article has made me really angry, as I think it takes a very stereotypical view of 16 year olds. According to this article, all people of our age care about are spots, the opposite gender and, most confusingly of all, crack cocaine??? Whilst it does make a good point that lowering the voting age would lead to even lower turnout figures, its view that young people are incapable of seeing through unrealistic manifesto ideas does imply that we are an age of incredibly gullible and stupid people, which I do not think is the case for the majority of this age group. Also, it takes the stance that if 18-24 year olds arent bothering, why would we, where as I feel if there was a change in the Law and the voting age was lowered, that could kick-start political interest in young people. As it is people of our age that are most affected by political change, I think we should be given a say, or at least be given some credit and not treated as if we are incapable of intelligent thought, as this article implies.


  4. I personally believe that young people age 16-17 should be denied the right to vote. As a majority most people this age wouldn't exercise the right to vote if it were given to them as most are uninterested and uneducated on political issues. However, if the government were to introduce new schemes to get more younger people interested and involved in politics then it may be justifiable to lower the voting age. I understand that the Scottish independence referendum will greatly effect under 18s so their opinions should be taken into consideration. But mostly people under 18 will just follow along with what they are told by their friends and family and therefor will not make a truly informed judgement on political issues.

  5. It is perhaps true that most young people may not have enough experience and knowledge to make a good choice in their voting. However, some 16-year-olds do have interests in politics and would like to have direct input into some significant decisions. They should be allowed to vote if people aged 18 -24 can vote. Besides,even if the government lowers the voting age to 16, it would not make any big difference to the turnout anyway.Although the turnout may become slightly worse, the government still should not take away 16-year-olds' rights to vote just because they do not want the turnout becoming worse. Isn't it more important for the government to improve the turnout instead of avoiding the turnout becoming worse? The government should educate people more about politics and encourage them to vote.


  6. Stereotypical as the article may be, it is hard to deny that few sixteen year olds take an active interest in politics. It is well established that the media has more influence over teenagers than older people. This means that lowering the voting age would increase media influence over politics even further - the celebrity culture is already extending to politicians which I believe is a bad thing. Do we really need to know if David Cameron accidentally left his daughter in a pub? If sixteen year olds were allowed to vote, the majority of decisions would inevitably be uninformed , making democracy in the UK less 'rule by the people' and more like an X Factor-style popularity contest.


  7. In my opinion sixteen year olds should be able to vote in elections. Most people have the warped perception that all sixteen year olds are unintereseted and lazy human beings however this only applies to a minorty.Therefore why should this sterotype prevent teenaagers from being able to contribute to the society in which they live in? I believe that those who take an active interst in politics should be able to have their opinion heard even if they are only sixteen because there are some youths who have a greater understanding of the political issues within society, than an eighteen year old who is eligible to vote. Therefore why should your age prevent your opinion from being heard, if you have a genuine interst in politics. Also some of the subjects which, for example referendums, are based on will largely affect 16-17 year olds therefore they should be able to express their views, so by denying them the right to vote this would be preventing them from being heard within society which is already an argument put foward by the 18-24 year olds who can vote.

  8. I do not personally feel that at the age of 16 you have reached the right level of maturity and understanding to vote and deal with such matters. Saying this, I am not classifying every individual in that category as being incapable of understanding what is being asked of them. I just think that if 18-24 year olds are struggling to produce a good turnout, would that not then reflect the same lack of interest 16 year olds would also show? Before trying to incorporate a younger voting age, i think the Government should focus primarily on producing new ways to make the younger generation more interested in Politics and current affairs...because otherwise it just seems like a waste of time.


  9. I personally believe that 16-17 year olds should not be given the right to vote. The majority of young people are not mature enough to vote on possibly constitution changing decisions. Although this article is extremely stereotypical, it is true that few young people show an interest in politics - how can 16-17 year olds be entrusted with the vote when they aren't educated in politics? This article shows young people in an awful light implying that all we are interested in is crack cocaine and the opposite sex and that we are incapable of comprehending politics which is simply not true. I believe that young people should be educated in politics from a young age so that when they turn 18 they can make an informed decision when voting. If this were the case then there would be less concern for 16-17 year olds being able to vote. This would also be likely to increase political participation and improve young peoples image in society.

  10. I personally do not think that the voting age should be lowered to 16. This is because, majority of 16 year old's don't have the slightest interest in politics and they find it 'boring'. If they do not have any interest in it then how can we trust them to vote for the right thing and not just do 'eenie meenie miney mo'? I also do not believe it will increase turnout as the younger generation just do not wish to include themselves in such elections therefore going to even younger ages will not do any good.


  11. I think they should stop worrying about the 'right' age to vote and start thinking about the right ability to vote. A 14 year old could easily have a much better understanding of politics than someone 5 times their age. Although hard to implement and tricky to categorize it could be suggested that some kind of test needs passing to gain the right to vote may be an interesting idea, nothing that would discriminate against the less academic, just something that can prove people have an interest in our political system and have some ideas on how it could be bettered or changed. That being said, with our current voting system of which 'age' is central to, no, i do not believe that the voting age should be lowered to 16+ as it is clear that for a majority an interest just isn't there. I believe we should focus less on changing the voting age and more on programs and schemes to educate (not just young) people and so by the age of 18 they are better educated to make a rational and informed decision.

    PM (prime minister)

  12. As voting is the central way in which citizens express their judgement and support of government policy, it is only fair that those who are affected by major government decisions are given the opportunity to express their opinions via the ballot box.
    Sixteen and seventeen year-olds can join the armed forces, raise a family and pay tax. If you can die for your country, get married, have children and pay towards society, you should have the right to indicate your feelings to the government.
    Our government was set up on the basis that we should not be taxed without representation. Sixteen year olds, as previously stated, can join the military, have kids, a job and have to pay taxes on the job. We have just as much say in who decides their taxes as all the rest of you.
    Obviously it’s not like they don't know whom they are voting for. 16 year olds are not unintelligent, if nowadays it’s difficult to fool a three year old with candy it would be impossible to fool a person who can differentiate well from bad so let us express our feelings to those whom we trust by voting for them.

  13. I personally believe 16-17 year olds should not have the right to vote as most of the population would not treat the priveledge with respect. the majority are not mature enough to understand how politics effect society and the article shows this through stereotyping. Even though the article may make some feel dejected and angered it has the point of proving that most sixteen year olds shouldn't be trusted to vote for a constitution for the country as why would they be interested in politics if they are not educated in it? However the article shows all young people as addicted to crack cocain and only interested in the opposite sex which is simple not true. Young people need to be educated about politics and so the issue should become a core subject in schools. This would benefit the whole country as some 16-17 year olds are interested in politics and how the country is run, so the article is overly stereotypical, but does prove the point that 16-17 should not have the right to vote.

  14. I do not believe 16 year olds should be allowed to vote because we are severely uneducated and uninformed about politics and how the government works as a whole. Because of this a lot of people might not be mature enough or knowledgeable enough to handle such a decision and are likely not to take it very seriously. Plus their naivety makes them more susceptible to manipulation through outside influences. I think we ought to have more of politics and the structure of the government taught to us in school so that we are aware enough to make an informed decision. Until that happens I stand by my point.

  15. Putting the article aside, as I believe it is fueled by a general hatred of teenagers, I would agree that 16-17 year olds shouldn't be given the vote as of yet. However, I believe there is real disconnection between the government and teenagers. The policies being made in the government do affect these young adults, and their voices need to be heard. If they are not given the vote, they need a way to politically express themselves, and they may have to turn to pressure groups, as demonstrated by the riots last summer. I would be inclined to reduce the voting age if the turnout amongst 18-24 year olds wasn't so low, but it seems as though it would affect the general turnout figures. However, I maintain the voices of young teenagers need to be heard, and it is an issue the government should be taking more seriously.