LOWERING THE VOTING AGE CAN ONLY BE POSITIVE – TERRI SMITH MSYP, VICE CHAIR OF THE SCOTTISH YOUTH PARLIAMENT

Terri Smith's avatar

Terri Smith

23 February 2015

Lowering the voting age can only be positive

In response to the concerns recently expressed from the House of Lords Constitution Committee about lowering the voting age, Terri Smith MSYP, Vice Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament said:

“Young people have truly shaped a defining moment in history throughout the last year, and the entire world has been watching and waiting to see if the decision to lower the voting age for the Scottish independence referendum would be a success, and indeed it has been.

“I note that on Monday 23rd February 2015, it was reported that the House of Lords Constitution Committee has expressed concerns about devolving the electoral franchise to Scotland and its impact in the rest of the UK. One of the concerns is that a lowered voting age in Scotland may lead to pressure for similar changes in the other devolved territories.

“While the Scottish Youth Parliament respects that any decision to lower the voting age must be properly considered by each devolved territory, we believe that voting at 16 is a right that should be afforded to all young people.

“As a nation, we should be encouraging our young people to have their say and shape their own futures. We should be focusing on engaging young people in politics, not sending messages that suggest their voices do not matter.

“As the democratically elected voice of Scotland’s young people, the Scottish Youth Parliament has always known that 16 and 17-year-olds are capable of making informed decisions when it comes to voting, and I hope the rest of the country can see that too. We are delighted that the voting age will be lowered to 16 in time for the next Scottish Parliament elections, and we believe this will have a very positive impact on the overall levels of engagement.”