Campaign for the vote at 16

Julie Morgan MP will strike a blow for equality for 16-18 year olds today, as she presents a private members bill to lower the voting age. If passed, The Voting Age (Reduction) Bill 2007 would see a reduction of the voting age to 16 in all public elections in the UK. The bill is supported by MPs from all parties, together with the Electoral Reform Society and the Votes at 16 coalition.

Julie Morgan MP said:“There is a growing consensus amongst parliamentarians that 16 and 17 year olds should have the right to vote. “Not only is this the right thing to do for today’s young people, it is the right thing to do for our democracy as those who vote young tend to continue this habit for the rest of their lives. “There exists now a real opportunity to get this historic measure onto the statute books and to re-invigorate political engagement in Britain”

Luke Springthorpe, Member of Youth Parliament (Hastings & The Rother), said:“Lessons on citizenship are now compulsory, but we are denied the basic right given to all citizens: the right to vote. How is it right that we’re taught how to be citizens until we’re 16, but then we’re not allowed to put those lessons into practice just when we’re most motivated and knowledgeable?“We can pay tax, we can work, and we can start families. We can even fight for our country. Yet we are denied a voice. “When it comes to the vote, we are ready, we are responsible, and we want it.”

Ken Ritchie, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society said: “Britain’s young citizens will not be truly represented in parliament until they can exercise their right to vote. “We commend Julie Morgan’s efforts to bring badly needed change to Westminster. If her colleagues in the Commons are as serious as their soundbites when it comes to engaging young people in politics, we trust she will receive the whole hearted support of the House.”

The Voting Age (Reduction) Bill 2007 Briefing pack is available for download here.

Do you think the voting age should be brought down to 16 years old?
What would be the impact?
What other rights should be improved to improve equality of age?