One of the manifesto policies of the Greens at the last election was that they would lower the voting age to 16. Now that we have a potential EU Referendum coming up they have asked for support in a vote to get the vote extended to 16 and 17 year old for this particular matter.
I am pulled in half by this, as I am by so much in politics. My first instinct is don’t be ridiculous, teenagers are not mature enough to vote. At sixteen or seventeen you’re struggling with studies, hopefully, and trying to learn to be an adult. It’s not ’til you meet the real, post education, world, be that at eighteen or twenty-one, that you really start to find your feet.
On the other hand, they are the ones whose futures are most dependant on the outcome of the referendum and they should have a say in the matter. It is hardly right that long term decisions will not reference the views of those who will be living with the consequences of those decisiopns the longest.
When the Scottish Independence Referendum took place 16 and 17 year olds were given a vote, and 75% of them turned out to vote. Teenagers are passionate, if sometimes naive, and maybe giving them a chance to vote at a young age will encourage people to keep voting? Considering that in the last General Election only 66% of the electorate bothered to vote, and the corrupt nature of our voting system – FPTP is designed for a two party parliament, not a multiple party system – getting more people in to the polling station can only be a good thing for our democracy.
Any ideas, thoughts, useful information to add?