In the UK, at the age of 16, teenagers are allowed to get married, work in a full time job (if you have left full time education) and join the army. But, why are 16 year olds still refused the fundamental right to vote in the UK?

 

In the 2014 Scottish independence Referendum, there was a turnout of more than 100,000 16-17 year olds, who had registered to vote, according to organisers. 16-17 year olds have previously displayed their enthusiasm for political issues and desire to make a difference in their society.

 

However, not all people hold this view; instead believing 16 year olds do not have the ‘wider understanding’ of political issues and further reform would need to be implemented to compensate for this revolutionary change.

 

‘Although on a selfish level the vote would be a great opportunity to participate, it simply isn’t relevant to my rights as a 16 year old,’ stated 16 year old and A Level Politics student, Freya Wood. ‘At 16, rights are more limited and for 16-17 year olds to be enfranchised, I feel that the rights adopted at 16 would have to be lowered in line with it to ensure that all voters had equal rights.’ It’s an opinion shared by many: the argument that 16 year olds are not legally allowed to drive a car or leave full time education - so why should they be allowed the right to vote if they are still not legally full-fledged adults?

 

Nevertheless, the enfracnchisement of 16 year olds is supported by influential parties, such as the Liberal Democrats, who stated they would introduce votes at 16 in the UK for elections and referendums, and the Green Party, who stated they would lower the voting age to 16, according to the UK Parliament website.

 

With 16 year olds becoming more involved in political issues and the wide support of this enfranchisement, we should support this action for reform. In our modern society of 2022, we need to support the younger generation in getting involved in our society and the political decisions that will consequently affect their futures.