Scottish Youth Parliament chair says devolving the powers to lower the voting age is a logical and sensible next step
Young people aged 16 and 17 are one step closer to being able to vote in Scottish Parliament elections after Lord Smith recommended to devolve powers over electoral franchise to Scotland.
The move resulted from heavy campaigning from youth organisations following the success of extending the voting age for the Scottish referendum.
Lord Smith said allowing 16 and 17 year olds to vote would result in a more autonomous parliament.
She said: “We are delighted that the Smith Commission has recommended powers over the voting age to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament. Given the experience of the referendum, there is now widespread consensus among the public, the media and politicians that the voting age should be lowered to 16.
Given the experience of the referendum, there is now widespread consensus among the public, the media and politicians that the voting age should be lowered to 16
“At the Scottish Youth Parliament, we have always known that young people are engaged, active and informed citizens, keen to play their part in creating a better Scotland.”
During the referendum 100,000 under 18s registered to vote – about 80% of those eligble.
One of the most talked about hustings during the referendum was all about youth.
Around 8,000 pupils filled the SSE Hydro in Glasgow in a televised debate putting questions and points to then deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon, Respect MP George Galloway, leader of the Scottish Conservatives Ruth Davidson and Green MSP Patrick Harvie.
“The referendum forced politicians, and other organisations to engage with young people more meaningfully, and at a scale never seen before,” Cameron continued.
“The Scottish experience of a lowered voting age has refuted many of the arguments made against it.
“With many powers over electoral administration already devolved to the Scottish Parliament, we believe that devolving the powers to lower the voting age is a logical and sensible next step which will make votes at 16 a reality in Scottish elections and continue the high levels of engagement with young people we experienced during the referendum.”