The UK Government now has no excuse to not give 16 and 17-year-olds the vote in all elections, after research into the independence referendum found young people going to the ballot box for the first time were motivated by the “same factors” as older voters. An international team analysing teen voter patterns observed the behaviour in young people going to the ballot box for the first time in 2014. The findings are based on a study of almost 600 youngsters from Dundee and Angus. In June, the Scottish Government passed a landmark Bill to allow this age group to vote in Scottish Parliament elections. Yesterday, the Electoral Reform Society said the research results are yet more evidence that the Westminster government must follow Holyrood’s lead and lower the voting age across the board.
Chief executive Katie Ghose told The National: “The time has come for votes at 16 for all elections. Young people proved that they care about politics in last year’s referendum, with 75 per cent voting and 97 per cent saying they would do so in the future.
“Sixteen and 17-year-olds are, as this new research shows, clearly capable of making up their minds on political issues. “As other studies have shown, they accessed more information than any other age group, and registered in their thousands.
“With Scotland’s youth discussing politics in classrooms and meeting halls around the country last year – and with thousands joining parties after the referendum – they absolutely have the maturity to exercise their democratic voice and to be fairly represented.