Votes@16, We believe that participation in free elections is a fundamental human right.
People who can work full-time, pay income tax or national insurance contributions, get married or enter a civil partnership, consent to medical treatment, and join the armed forces, should be entitled to this right. Making young people wait is squandering their energy and passion. It is leaving it to chance whether MP's take into account the interests and perspectives of their younger constituents
Not only are 16 and 17 year olds by law able to make complex decisions and take on wide ranging responsibilities, they are also showing in practice that they want to make a positive difference through participation in local youth councils, youth parliament and student unions. Locking them out is patronising: it relies on out-dated views about young people’s capacities. These young people are knowledgeable and passionate about the world in which they live, and are as capable of engaging in the democratic system as any other citizen. Our campaign also wants to emphasize the importance of educating these young people further, to ensure all, have the political intellect to vote responsibly and maturely.