The 2014 Youth Select Committee will embark on an inquiry into
lowering the voting age to 16, where it will explore the issues and
arguments around votes at 16.
The Youth Select Committee (YSC) is a British Youth Council
initiative, supported by the House of Commons. The eleven committee
members are aged 14-18 and include three Members of the Youth
Parliament (MYPs), one former MYP, three youth councillors, a
representative from the Scout Association and one elected
representative from each of the devolved nations.
Michael Hope, 17, Chair of the Youth Select
Committee, from Dunbartonshire, said:
"With 16-year-olds in Scotland able to vote in this year's
Scottish Independence referendum, the issue of whether the voting
age should be lowered in all UK elections has become a live
political issue. What would be the practical impact of lowering the
voting age? Would citizenship education need to be beefed up to
prepare young people to vote? It's important that politics engages
with young people and as a Committee we look forward to hearing
what people have to say about votes at 16."
The Committee has a clear mandate to focus on 'Votes for 16 and
17 year olds in all public elections', as the issue was voted as
the priority UK-wide campaign of the UK Youth Parliament at their
annual House of Commons debate in November 2013 and is an ongoing
campaign of the British Youth Council.
The Youth Select Committee, now in its third year, will look at
the following issues as part of its inquiry:
- Should the age at which people are allowed to vote be lowered?
Why/why not? If yes, to what age?
- For what reasons is the voting age currently set at 18? What
qualities mean that a person is ready to vote? Do 16 and
17-year-olds possess these qualities?
- Should the age at which people are able to vote vary between
types of election? For example, should the voting age be different
for local and General elections?
- What short term and long term effect would lowering the voting
age have on voter turnout? Should the likely turnout of 16 and
17-year-old voters affect the decision on whether to lower the
- What can be learned from countries where the voting age is
lower than 18 or where lowering the voting age has been
- What was the motivation for allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to
vote in the referendum on independence for Scotland? What can be
learned from this example?
- What would the practical implications of lowering the voting
- How effectively does citizenship education prepare young people
to vote? How could it be used to prepare young people to vote?
- What is the best way to engage young people with the political
In addition, the Committee would like to hear the views of
people under 18 on the following questions:
- Would you vote if the voting age was lowered to 16? Why/why
- Do you feel ready to make an informed decision about who to
vote for? What would help you feel prepared to vote?
The Committee call for evidence closes on 2nd May and the YSC
will hold oral evidence sessions in the House of Commons in June
and July 2014.
Read the evidence submitted to the Committee.
Find out about how evidence was gathered.
Meet the 2014 Youth Select Committee here.
The Youth Select Committee has launched its
report 'Lowering the Voting Age to 16'.
Including press contacts.