Friday, 11 October 2013

Get in the boat; give 16-year olds the vote!

There currently over 1.5 million 16 and 17 year olds in the UK, all of whom are being deprived the right to vote. It is a human right to participate in free elections and the reasons to exclude people from voting have to be fair and balanced.

By giving 16-year olds the right to vote it will involve them more in society; this will reduce some of the negative stereotypes that are given to teenagers. It can prove people who think that teenagers don’t care and are apathetic about politics wrong.

Young people are intelligent, they are eager and they are passionate.  By giving 16-year olds the vote they will be more engaged in democracy and political apathy in the youth will decrease. They will feel that they are able to make a difference in their community and their country.

Voting will allow 16-year olds to influence the decisions that affect their lives and futures. Political parties are also likely to include more pledges that affect the youth in their manifestos to try and obtain a greater number of votes.

At the age of 16, the law already allows you to:
  • Give full consent to medical treatment
  • Leave school and enter work or training
  • Pay income tax and national insurance
  • Obtain tax credits and welfare benefits in your own right
  • Consent to sexual relationships
  • Get married or enter a civil partnership
  • Change your name by deed poll
  • Become a director of a company
  • Join the armed forces
  • Become a member of a trade union or co-operative society
If at 16 you already have the ability to do the entire list above, why are you not given the right to vote? You can pay income tax and National Insurance but you cannot influence how this money is spent. You are thought to be responsible enough to get married and start a family but you are not thought to be responsible enough to vote. You have the ability to become a director of a company but have no say in how your country is directed.

There are plenty of other countries that allow 16-year olds who live there to vote. The list includes the Isle of Man, Austria, Germany and even in Scotland where 16 and 17 year olds will be allowed to vote in the 2014 Independence Referendum.

Get in the boat; give 16-year olds the vote!
Sail towards the future!

If you support the idea of lowering the voting age to 16 there is an existing campaign called ‘Votes at 16’. Their website is linked here.


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