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Weekly Edition - Publication date:- 2017-09-06

-en Southport & Mersey Reporter

Local News Report  - Mobile Page

 

Should the voting age be lowered to 16?
Report by Georgia Taft

Editors note:- "Georgia has been on a work placement with us and has been looking at a topic very close to her heart, the right to vote and have a say in the future of the UK. This is her report from a very well informed 15 year old, who has a very good grasp on the UK's political landscape."

AS the election was recently upon us, many arguments surfaced regarding whether to voting age should be lowered to 16. Especially, after the massive youth turn out in the Scottish Referendum where the voting age was lowered to 16. This begs the question, should the UK lower the voting age to 16?

Countries such as Austria and Norway have experimented lowering the voting age. Austria became the 1st European country that has permanently lowered the voting age to 16, in 2011. Political interest among young Austrians increased when they were given the opportunity to vote and had the ability to discuss and debate the issues in School. On the other hand, Norway experimented with lowering the voting age in 2011, but the effect was less successful. The trial saw some but not all municipalities allow 16 and 17 year olds to vote. The eligible teenagers were generally interested in voting, but when compared to the same age who couldn't vote, they showed no sign of an increased sense of civic responsibility.

Some people believe lowering the voting age is too much responsibility for young people, especially with the amount of pressure they are already under, due to exams. However, when you are 16 you can, marry freely in Scotland and marry in the UK (with parental consent). Marrying is a huge decision and shows that some young people are already thinking about the future ahead of them. Secondly, you are able to buy a lottery ticket, which is a form of gambling. If the government deems you responsible enough to handle millions of pounds, (the youngest winner at 16, won 2 million pounds) then you should be responsible enough to make political decisions.

There is also the argument that young people are too young to be trusted. For instance, 16 year olds haven't entered the world of Tax, homeownership, employment or pensions. These economic issues are often the forefront of election campaigns. This means that there is lack of experience from making a considered judgment at the ballot box. In addition to that, 18 to 24 year olds have the lowest turnout point of any age group, with only 44% of voters aged 18 to 24 voted in 2010 (according to the intergenerational foundation). However, 1.57 million people registered to vote for the 2017 general election, with an astonishing 805,000 people under 24 (according to the Mirror). Although, there are also concerns that teenagers who want to casts their vote will be influenced by their Parents. For this reason; consequently, some people believe there is no point in lowering the voting age, because young people won't be thinking for themselves.

Despite all of this, by most people's 16th birthday, they will either be in their final year of Secondary School or 1st year of College. This means that young people are already making major decisions about education and which path they would like to take in the future. Why should those making decisions about their own future be unable to cast their vote about the future of the country? Secondly, young people are more integrated with current affairs. Anyone who has Facebook or Twitter is consistently fed news and updates. It's undeniable that it is inescapable whether you are young or not. Young people today are far more up to date on anything that happens in the world. It could be celebrity news or current affairs, they know about it through social media. Finally, at the end of the day young people are the future of the UK. At 16 you're already considering issues such as university, theoretically you could get Taxed at 16 and some young people are even part of the working world. 16 to 17 year olds are not children, they are taking steps into adult life, and therefore they should be old enough to cast their vote towards the future of the country.

Back in April, This question was asked to Southport Reporter's Twitter Followers, interestingly 46% said 16 year olds should be able to vote, but 54% said definitely not! Reading this report, by a 15 year old, does it change your views? Do you think the voting age should be restricted? I would love to hear your thoughts. Please email Southport Reporter, via:- News24@SouthportReporter.com.

 

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