16 year olds deal with government in most of the same ways that their parents do. They pay income tax and National Insurance, can claim welfare benefits and tax credits, and make their own choices regarding their education. How we are governed fundamentally affects the lives of 16 year olds, yet they’re denied the chance to have a say.
Sign the Petition
We the undersigned petition the Scotland Office to draft legislation devolving electoral registration and the ability to set the voting age for all elections in Scotland.
In the UK, 16 is the age of consent. 16 year olds are considered mature enough to enter marriage or civil partnership, be a company director, or even choose a career in the armed forces. 16 year olds are also already able to participate in the political sphere by joining a trade union or co-operative society.
It is not a tenable position to say that 16 year olds have the capacity to do all of this, yet cannot make a considered choice on who to vote for.
We believe that civic responsibilities should be balanced with civic rights. If the government can take your earnings in tax, they should also take your vote. That’s why Liberal Youth Scotland are calling for votes at 16 in all elections.
Liberal Democrat policy has been clearly in favour of votes at 16 for a number of years now, and there is some cross-party support. However, with a majority of Labour and Tory MPs still opposed, we’re not likely to get any movement on this issue in the current UK Parliament. Liberal Youth Scotland are also calling for power over the franchise to be devolved, so that MSPs – a majority of whom are in favour – can move forward to lower the voting age for elections in Scotland.