Votes at 16, should it really happen?

Politics is something that will affect everyone’s life in someway, whether its the flick of a newspaper or a watch of BBC News at 10. It affects people in the present moment and will most definitely affect the lives of people in the future.

You make so many key decisions at the age of 16/17. At the age of 16 and 17, you can leave school and go into work, do an apprenticeship or further education and this is likely to affect what you go on to do in the future.

At the age of 16, you can:
* join the army
* get married
* have a child
* gamble legally.
But you can’t choose who will represent you in Westminster.

There was discussion that votes at 16 would be allowed for EU Referendum in 2017 (which now could be as early as June 2016). It was passed in the Lords, but rejected in the House of Commons.

In the Scottish Independence Referendum, young people aged 16 and 17 were allowed to vote YES or NO to the independence of Scotland from the United Kingdom. The turnout for this was extremely high and proves young people do want to have a say in their futures.

People argue that voter turnout between the ages of 18-24 is lower than other turnout rates. But if you just educated young people on the key policies of each party, then this turnout rate is likely to increase. So why should 16 and 17 year olds be denied a vote just because they don’t have the education people want them to have due to it not being taught at school.

Young people need to feel part of society and they should feel welcome to get involved in democracy. Maybe they just need to know that they will be listened to by politicians and then they will start to realise they can make a change. After all, these decisions made by MPs will affect their future, as young people are the future!

So, is it now time to give 16 and 17 year olds the power to vote, to be given a voice to make a difference?


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