Votes at 16 was one of the many policies proposed in our UK Youth Voice Manifesto, released for the General Election in June 2017. You can read the manifesto by clicking here.
Following yesterday’s announcement that the Welsh government plan to lower the voting age to 16 for local elections in Wales, we spoke to members of UK Youth Voice for their perspective on the change.
Kate Seary, UKYV Rep for Wales
“Bringing votes at 16 to Wales is a great opportunity for young people to make their mark on Welsh politics and make their voices heard! It is disappointing that the Welsh government hasn’t taken the opportunity to extend the vote to assembly elections as well as local elections, but it is a step in the right direction. With fantastic success in Scotland with votes at 16, it would be great to see the franchise extended to young people across the country. Votes at 16 will give young people the chance to change the perception of young people failing to engage in politics”
Nikhwat Marawat, UKYV Rep for West Midlands
“A more engaged population is a more democratic population. Allowing young people a say on issues that will affect the communities they know so well is a slow step to empowering young people who will bear the brunt of decisions made for them and not by them. Though we haven’t achieved our goal of votes at 16 for all just yet, this is a welcome and sure step for a more democratic future for us all.”
Megan Doherty, UKYV Rep for Northern Ireland
“I believe that 16 and 17 year olds should be granted the vote as many leave school and go into the workplace/army and should have the right to influence political agendas that affect them. But many aren’t mature enough to vote responsibly or have a great understanding. Therefore I would like votes at 16 to be supported by political education in schools.”
Mark Magee, UKYV Rep for Scotland
“It’s fantastic to have votes at 16. In 2014 this was made a reality for so many in Scotland in the Independence Referendum. With such an important decision to be made it would not have been fair for those who were 16/17 to not have their say. I was lucky enough to have turned 18 at the end of 2013, but had I been 17 and be unable to vote, I would have been devastated alongside many others! I’m shocked that its taken over 3 years for more governments to back Votes at 16 and I’m super excited for Wales were young people are being given a chance at this!”