Youth agency dismayed by decision on voting age

    The National Youth Agency has reacted with dismay to the
    Electoral Commission’s recommendation that the minimum age
    for voting should remain at 18.

    The Commission threw out the proposal despite the fact that a
    majority of responses to its consultation favoured voting at 16. It
    also rejected alternative options including voting at 16 in local
    elections only and pilot schemes for a lower minimum age.

    It recommends that the minimum age for standing as a candidate in
    an election should be reduced from 21 to 18, but says there is
    insufficient justification for a change at present in the minimum
    voting age.

    Campaigners have pointed out that 16 year olds are expected to pay
    tax, and allowed to join the armed forces and marry.

    Tom Wylie, chief executive of the National Youth Agency, said:
    “This refusal to propose reducing the voting age will draw a
    further divide between young people and the democratic process.
    Politicians will continue to be able to sideline the needs and
    concerns of younger votes and to play to an adult gallery about the
    anti-social behaviour of the few.

    “The young car mechanic we trust to fit our tyres correctly
    still will not have a say on how the  taxes on his or her still too
    meagre wages are spent.”

    Twenty year old Ashley Sweetland, co-chair of the trustees of the
    UK Youth Parliament, said: “This is dreadful news and we
    believe it fails to reflect the views of the majority of this
    country’s young people. Being able to vote – actually
    putting the cross in the box – is being denied to young
    people, failing to acknowledge the rights and responsibilities that
    young people already have. What is the point of the citizenship

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