The general election has reached fever pitch. Parties are fighting for seats, with MP’s knocking on doors and posting their parties manifestoes in letter boxes. All over the country, 18 year olds and over will be making their ways to voting stations or using the postal vote to have their say on who should be running the country. But should the voting age be lowered- should 16-17 year olds be allowed to vote?
There are plenty of reasons why people think that the voting age should be lowered. One is arguing against the proposition that 16-17 year olds are too immature to vote and do not have the knowledge needed to make a rounded decision of whom to vote for. The argument against this is that 16-17 year olds are able to cope with the responsibility of voting and are mature enough to do so. For example, 16-17 year olds are able to join the army aged 16, and are able to get married aged 16- if 16-17 year olds are mature enough to do this, why are they deemed not responsible to vote?
Another reason for allowing 16-17 year olds to vote is that it would increase the number of people that vote- low numbers are a significant issue. By one estimate, less than 45% of 18-24 year olds voted in the 2010 election. If 16-17 year olds were allowed to vote, this number would increase. It would also give young people the chance to have their say in issues that affect them, such as schools and public transport; this would also help the voting number to increase, and could stop politics from alienating so many young people.
However, there are a lot of people that think that 16-17 year olds should not be allowed to get the vote. Many people think that they’re too immature to vote, as they need parental permission for just about everything, from huge responsibilities like getting married to joining the armed forces (and even then they cannot fight on the front line) to even getting a tattoo. They also would struggle to find a job that generates enough income that means they’ll have to pay income tax, whilst people that are 18 are out of full time education and can commit to a full time job.
To conclude, whilst there are plenty of good reasons why 16-17 year olds should get the vote, like helping young people become more involved with politics. On the other hand, there are many reasons why people believe that 16-17 year olds shouldn’t get the vote- for example young people being too immature or lacking the knowledge needed to make the decision of who should be running the country. The question of lowering the voting age has been debated often in recent memory- including the correct general election; perhaps one day a decision will be made and it will become normal to see 16 year olds going to the voting stations!
Report by Juliet Rose Y10
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