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 rejected the proposal to lower the age to 16
despite the fact most responses to its consultation favoured it. It
also rejected other options including voting at 16 in local
elections only and pilot schemes for a lower minimum age.
It recommended that the minimum age for standing as a candidate
in an election should be reduced from 21 to 18, but said there is
insufficient justification for a change in the minimum voting
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.”
Ashley Sweetland, 20, 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 curriculum?”