Future voices: Should 16 year olds be given the vote?

Norfok MYPs attended a debate in the House of Commons in November 2013

Norfok MYPs attended a debate in the House of Commons in November 2013 - Credit: Archant

What is the basis for saying young people aren't allowed to vote? Everyone over 18 is entitled to vote, regardless of their background or education, so why should young people be excluded from voting for the policies they want?

The decisions MPs make affect youth, therefore they should have a voice.

Lowering the voting age to 16 is not simple. But many young people would argue they already have pre-18 rights and responsibilities in today's society, and that until they are included in the electorate, their views cannot be truly represented. Giving 16 and 17 year olds the vote will let them gain more political understanding and make them engaged, and will be an incentive for politics being widely expressed in the education system across the schools.

If everyone is engaged in politics from a younger age, if they understand the system more and what effect they can have on it, it will have a positive impact on democracy in this country.

Not only are 16 and 17 year olds able to make complex decisions and take on wide ranging responsibilities, they are showing that they want to make a positive difference.

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Many young people are already influencing society, becoming Members of Youth Parliament (MYPs), part of local youth councils or part of their student union. They are expressing views that will define their future, but until they are able to vote, can they really make a difference?

Nationally, the UK Youth Parliament is campaigning to lower the voting age to 16. Half a million young people voted in the UK Youth Parliament Make Your Mark consultation, and Votes at 16 came out as the number one priority.

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Until the voting age changes, you can always contact your local member of Norfolk Youth Parliament with your concerns or ideas and they will make sure Norfolk County Council are aware of your views when making decisions that affect young people's lives.

Do you support votes at 16? Vote in the poll on our website, edp24.co.uk/futurevoices

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