Why should the voting age be changed?

Mia-lily Drew

Being a young person myself, I feel like there is a lot that needs to be discussed and addressed surrounding the topic of decisions young people can’t make which affect their lives. Something that’s been out there for a while is the idea of lowering the legal voting age from 18 to 16. 

This idea is certainly not new; in fact, it was rejected at first in 1999 by parliament, and then again in 2005. At the age of 16 options begin to open up regarding things people are allowed to do but ironically, the one that affects our lives most is the one we have to wait longest to do- at 16 you can legally have children, get married and have a family and children, and pay taxes- but still can’t have a say in who runs your country. This is a highly controversial issue as its presumed 16-17 year olds dont have the maturity and life experience to vote, but enough to birth and raise a child whilst making enough to contribute to the national economy and government. 

There has been a lot of conducted research and studies to inform on whether lowering the legal voting age is an appropriate decision; here are some graphs (above) of the gathered data:

There is generally a higher turnout of 16 and 17 year olds who vote (when they are allowed to vote) in comparison to the 18-24 group, and were also found to be more educated on the current political climate as they have access to a much larger variety of resources and information, as well as actively researching things and educating themselves more than the average voter. 

Being 18 now and still not being old enough to have made the cut for the most recent vote at the time, I wish I was able to vote at 16. I was already at 16 very politically educated and aware, and had my own opinions and political party preferences which 

I feel were just as important, if not more important than older voters’ decisions- as its people in my current age bracket that are the most affected by decisions we aren’t even allowed to make. 

I feel like under 18’s are massively underestimated when it comes to how educated they make themselves in the current political climate. I know 16 year olds who know the ins and outs of every vote so far, and have extremely informed opinions whereas i also know grown adults who have never voted once because they just don’t mind because they don’t feel affected by it. There are so many young people whose votes could make the difference this government needs to move forward in what could be a more inclusive, beneficial and flourishing country.