The UK Parliament has the power to change the law to reduce the voting age, so it’s really important for us to lobby MPs.
Which is why we’ve made it as easy as possible for you to contact your local MP and make sure they know how you feel before they make decisions about Votes at 16.
You can now send a fully personalised email to ask them to support Votes at 16 with a few clicks of your mouse.
If you’re a young person from any of the target constituencies, apply now to the Youth Action Group for Votes at 16
- Evidence shows that young people do want to engage in democracy, however there are certain things which deter or restrict them from doing so; for example barriers in registration, lack of engagement with minorities by political parties and socio-economic marginalisation.
- Turnout among 16-and 17-year-olds in Wales seems in line with that of other age groups, showing that young people do want to engage despite the barriers presented to them.
- As few as 5% of schools are visited by a politician (digitally or otherwise) in the course of each school year
As part of this campaign we are determined to not only lower the voting age, but further champion democracy and political participation through political literacy. Young people’s access to their political representatives varies widely across the UK. This gap demands attention.
Research suggests that positive political contact with politicians can overcome anti-political sentiments and stimulate future engagement among adults. Similarly, research with young people in schools points to a profound impact on expressive participation and political ambition (Weinberg et al, 2021)
- Inequality in political education
The government has incorporated citizenship education into the curriculum. However in many schools, political and democratic knowledge doesn’t go far enough. We know that access to democratic education can be shaped by young people’s social background, so it is even more imperative that schools act as centres of political education to eliminate this inequality.
The Expert Panel established in 2017 by the National Assembly for Wales to consider electoral reform for Assembly elections considered how lower voting age would fit with the ages at which other rights and responsibilities arise. The panel concluded:
“that the reality is that there is no single age at which a young person takes on all the responsibilities and rights of an adult citizen. While comparisons between the ages at which young people acquire rights and responsibilities, or start to exercise those rights and responsibilities, may be relevant, we do not find them compelling in making the case for or against a reduction in the voting age.”