In recent elections the number of people voting has been in decline. Can we attract more people to vote by lowering the voting age to 16?
Is allowing 16 year-olds the chance to vote a good idea or are young people just too immature when it comes to politics? I have looked at both sides of the argument:
- 16 year-olds are mature enough to make important decisions such as voting. They have been in education for at least 10 years, and most of them have some experience of work as well as school. All this allows them to form political views and they should be allowed to put these across at election time.
- 16 year-olds already have other rights. For example, in many countries they have the right to leave school and leave home, and the right to marry and have children. It is not reasonable to have different ages for different rights.
- It is unfair to have taxation without representation. Many 16 year-olds work and pay tax on their earnings. At present they are not allowed to have a say in how the government spends their money, nor in how much should be collected from them in taxes.
- 16 year-olds are not mature enough. The large majority still live at home and go to school. By 18 they have become much more independent and are able to make their own way in the world.
- It makes sense for different rights to be gained at different times as young people mature and get used to more responsibility.
- Governments do things which affect every age group but that does not mean everyone deserves the vote. And there are other ways for young people to have a say – they can write to elected representatives and newspapers, sign petitions, speak at public meetings and join youth parliaments.
It is important to note that 16 year-olds have already been giving the chance to vote in some political matters such as Scottish Referendum. There was a good turnout from this age group and they showed that they took this issue very seriously.
Finally no matter what age, it is crucial we all register to vote as the government has a huge impact on our daily lives.
By Saif Ramzan, 17