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Votes at 16 a step closer

This news post is about 9 years old

Scottish Parliament committee supports general principles of bill to allow 16 and 17 year olds to vote in future elections

The devolution (further powers) committee has today supported the general principles of a bill that would allow 16 and 17 year olds to vote in the 2016 Scottish Parliament election.

The Scottish election (reduction of voting age) bill, which would give 16 and 17 year olds the right to vote in all future elections to the Scottish Parliament and local authority elections, has been supported in the committee’s Stage 1 report into the bill.

Committee convener Bruce Crawford MSP said: "All parties represented on the committee and the parliament agree that 16 and 17 year olds should be able to vote in future elections.

“The experience of last year’s referendum – and the enthusiasm and engagement it generated – demonstrated that young people not only want a voice, they want a vote.

“In our evidence session we have heard from those involved in administering elections, in compiling registers, and from representatives of young people including young people themselves.

“While the committee believes that more needs to be done to ensure that schools and colleges are best supported to help discussion of election issues, we unanimously support the general principles of this bill.”

Welcoming the news Girlguiding Scotland’s chief commissioner Sue Walker said: "This year Girlguiding Scotland members made their voices heard ahead of the general election by calling on politicians to back the #girlsmatter campaign to end sexism.

“Extending the vote to young people aged 16 and over for future Scottish elections is a great way to ensure their voices are heard.”