By 2021 it may be possible for 16 and 17-year-olds in Wales to vote in the election for a Welsh Parliament. Politicians are making a decision on this soon. Here are 16 reasons why the voting age should be lowered to 16:
1. You can pay tax at 16 so you should have a say on how that is spent and how much you should pay.
2. You can join the armed forces at 16, if you can march for your country, you should have a say in how it is run.
3. Why should a 16-year-old have any less interest in politics than a 55-year-old? Sometimes, they are more engaged.
4. Many of the political decisions taken are likely to affect our lives for longer than older people (for example: leaving the EU).
5. A 16-year-old is not usually less-informed on matters of public interest than an 18-year-old.
6. You can make big choices about the direction your life is going to take at 16 – you can choose A Levels, work, college or to do an apprenticeship – so it doesn’t make sense that you can’t vote.
7. At 16, some children leave local authority care and are left to fend for themselves – and yet 16-year-olds are denied a vote.
8. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child says we have a right to express our opinion and for that to be heard. Denying 16-year-olds a vote is a breach of that right.
9. It’s allowed in Scotland and in other parts of Europe so why isn’t it allowed here?
10. 16-year-olds are allowed to make a ‘live or die’ decision like smoking cigarettes but are not allowed to vote on their future.
11. There are complaints that the public is uninformed and yet by denying young people the vote we’re making that situation worse.
12. In general, politicians aim their policies towards older people rather than younger people because they are the ones who vote and as a result, we get ignored.
13. In the Scottish Referendum, 89% of eligible 16 and 17-year-olds registered to vote which shows that young people were interested. A greater percentage of 16 and 17-year-olds voted than 18-34-year-olds.
14. In Austria, where 16 and 17-year-olds can vote, there is evidence that there has been an increase in political knowledge in this age group, partly because of an increase in citizenship education.
15. You can get married at 16 and that’s one of the biggest decisions you can make, but, you still can’t vote.
16. Voting can become a habit if you start at a younger age and there’s more chance of you being a lifelong voter if you start sooner.