Votes at 16

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The Scottish Youth Parliament is a fundamentally rights-based organisation, and our mission, vision, and values are grounded in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).  In particular, our purpose embodies Article 12: “Young people have the right to express their views freely and have their opinions listened to in all matters affecting them".

SYP also has a firm belief that one of the best ways of getting involved in making decisions and having your voice heard is through the ballot box. Through our work, we’ve seen many capable, confident, and well-informed 16 and 17-year-olds who have been unable to play their full part as citizens by exercising their democratic rights on election day.

SYP believes that all 16 and 17-year-olds should have the right to vote in all elections. Society believes that young people are old enough to pay tax, join the army, and get married. It follows that they should also have the democratic right to vote.

At SYP’s March 2012 Sitting, MSYPs overwhelmingly voted to make Votes at 16 SYP’s priority national campaign through the spring to tie in with the UK and Scottish Government’s consultation on the referendum process. 

The results:

  • 16 and 17 year olds were given the right to vote in the 2014 Scottish Referendum; and
  • 16 and 17 year olds were given the right to vote in all Scottish Parliamentary elections.