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Should 16-year-olds be able to vote?


What should happen to the UK voting age?

At what age should we be allowed to vote? MPs are today debating a bid to have the voting age lowered to 16.

The motion has been tabled by Lib Dem MP Stephen Williams, who says the bid has wide parliamentary support and that it would enable 1.5m 16- and 17-year-olds to vote.

Both Labour and the Lib Dems are in support of this - what do you think? Is 16 too young to have a vote? Or is it unfair that people old enough to work, have sex and fight wars do not yet have the right to vote?

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Reply 1
Most 16 year olds can't even work out what they want for tea. Letting them vote is a bad idea, and that's even if they're bothered.
Judging from some of the 18 year old idiots I know; 18 is too low.
Reply 3
No. In general, 16 year olds have no interest in politics and are not educated well enough in politics to make an informed vote. Hell most people under 25 are clueless too. Practically every idiot at Uni was voting Lib Dem because "They're going to lower tuition fees or something aren't they?" Look how that turned out... I'm sure they can wait until they're 18. Having 'more voters' wont suddenly improve the end-result in an election. If anything, it's going to harm it by a large handful of ill-informed votes being cast.

Daily Mail readers should also have their right to vote automatically withdrawn.
Reply 4
The argument that some 40 year olds are as ignorant as some 16 year olds is null for me. Unfortunately widespread ignorance is an indicator of the failure of our educational system, yet this does not mean that they should not be allowed to vote. There is a need for an arbitrary cut off point to divide those from who can vote, and those who cannot. I am in favour of the voting age being at 18 because this is a very symbolic cut off point. It is the age of adulthood and full acceptance of responsibility for your actions in society. Making it at 16 would worry me because there is little official that the age signifies. Many responses to this would be that they can join the Army (not to the frontline however), they can pay taxes, they can marry, they can have sex etc. My response remains the same, being able to have a job and pay taxes =/= adult. Should we remove the right to vote for 35 year old citizens on benefits? Of course not, the right to vote is not a financial one. Yes, a 16 year old may be able to marry and have children, but once again I fail to see why this in any shape or form justifies participation in an election. Please respond to this if you want to challenge any of my opinions.
Reply 5
Reply 6
In the name of giving 16 year olds a voice? Do they really need a voice? Sure, things in society affect everyone and that includes 16 year olds. But where do we stop with this? Political decisions in society affect even 5 year olds. We would never think of allowing 5 year olds to make informed decisions about who to vote for or what party represents their needs.

This is why adults need to be informed! Not 5 year olds. Not even 16 year olds. Adults.
Reply 7
Nope, there aren't enough mature 16-17-year-olds to make up for the countless idiots who would vote for parties like the BNP.
Reply 8
Democracy's main failing is an apathetic uninformed public, easily swayed by propaganda. Lowering voting age to 16 only exacerbates this.
I'd say if you're old enough to get a job and start paying income tax, then you should be able to vote.
Original post by 'Ello Dave!
Judging from some of the 18 year old idiots I know; 18 is too low.

I agree.

21 would be a more reasonable age.
Well I shall have to go against the grain and say yes it should be. Those who are 16 and aren't interested in politics will most likely not vote. Those who are interested and do understand will get to vote. Ignorance to politics is not something that is limited to 16 and 17 year old only. There are so many older people who are also completely ignorant. Surely if your logic is to stop ignorant people from getting the vote, you would be better off basing suffrage upon IQ :rolleyes:

I think there is too much negativity towards young people and everyone assumes that they are all uneducated and ignorant. I wouldn't agree with this and I think that there are many intelligent 16 year old more than capable of making good political decisions. Also, currently in politics, the baby boomer generation wields so much political power due to having large numbers who vote and obviously all political parties prioritise trying to appease the baby boomers generation. More young people from our generation should help make us a larger and more important demographic which would get politicans to recognise and to take more seriously issues effecting our generation as a whole.
Reply 12
Due to the lack of education we receive at schools regarding politics up until the age of 16 I think it would be a very bad decision to let 16 years old vote. Realistically their vote would be based on what their parents political views are, rather than their own. That or there would be a huge increase in the amount of votes the 'Monster Raving Loony Party' would receive.
Yes, I hasten to add that the majority of people who are at or are over the voting age are fairly ignorant about politics today. If a sixteen year old is interested in politics they should be able to vote, widening the franchise is a good thing because it gives a sense of social responsibility and political responsibility. Developmental Individualism people!
It doesn't matter what age anyone's allowed to vote if the political classes are allowed to lie to their electorate in their campaigns. When faced with lies and misinformation it doesn't matter what age you are, you won't have a clue what will actually happen when the party gets into power.
Reply 15
noo. most 16 year olds aren't even interested in politics
Reply 16
I think it's fine as it is and leave it at 18; if we lowered the voting age I doubt that 1.5 million 16 year olds will be bothered to vote. Heck, most adults aren't even bothered to vote.

Having said that, if we lowered the voting age it may interest some 16 year olds to look into politics and read up on it. It may even serve those silly citizenship lessons in secondary school a purpose: teachers could show them manifestos of each party and they could have class debates as to which one should be voted in power. This may actually help those kids in the future when they vote as a proper adult, as they would be more skeptical of politician's promises and would be able to make a more informed decision in the future when they vote unlike most adults today.
(edited 11 years ago)
if the voting age was lower i still wouldn't vote.
I have only recently become interested in politics and i still don't know what all the groups stand for or the long term implications of them.
Are you kidding? Most people in their forties are horribly ill-informed about political issues, let alone sixteen year olds. Age is a very bad way to select people for suffrage, in my view.
Original post by rich2606
I'd say if you're old enough to get a job and start paying income tax, then you should be able to vote.

So, if a child actor aged 4 pays income tax, they should get to vote?