Votes at 16
The Votes at 16 campaign group has now come to an end, some of the things we have done over this time are:
- we encouraged 16 and 17 year olds to vote in Fullers Slade’s Regeneration vote
- we gave a presentation at the big debate in October
- we delivered a presentation to parish councilors
- we have also asked the Council Cabinet some questions about their views and what they could do about the campaign
UK Youth Parliament
Votes at 16 was voted as one of the most important issues for young people’s in the nationwide Make Your Mark youth ballot in 2018. Because of this MKYCAB decided to campaign for the issue on a local level. MK Council also said they were in support of Votes at 16.
Why is this important?
16 and 17 year-olds are not granted the opportunity to influence key decisions that affect their lives on a day to day basis. This means that many of their concerns are dismissed despite the fact many young people will engage when given an authentic opportunity.
It is also important to highlight that not all 16 and 17-year-olds across the UK have the same rights. In Scotland, 16 and 17-year-olds have been allowed to vote in all Scottish elections since May 2016. Also 16 and 17 year olds can now officially vote in Wales for Senedd elections. Statistics about the Scottish referendum showed 75% of 16 and 17-year-olds turned out to vote. This just goes to show that when young people are given the opportunity to influence a decision that shapes their future, they are eager to get involved.
Finally, there are no justifications for not aligning the rights of 16 and 17 year-olds with their responsibilities. Over 1.5 million 16 and 17 year-olds are denied the right to vote but are allowed by law to;
- Give full consent to medical treatment
- Pay income tax and National Insurance
- Obtain tax credits and welfare benefits in their own right
- Consent to sexual relationships
- Get married or enter a civil partnership, with parental consent
- Change their name by deed poll
- Become a director of a company
- Serve in the armed forces but not deployed on the front line
Last Updated: 3 September 2021