Updated: Apr 21, 2020
The Votes at 16 Coalition will be launching a campaign and parliamentary petition for Votes at 16 across the United Kingdom on Thursday the 7th of May. This is the day that local elections in England and Wales were due to go ahead before COVID-19.
The Coalition will be campaigning ahead of the elections in 2021 for fair and equal voting rights for young people across the UK. This campaign is focused on local authorities and city regions as an incremental step towards votes for 16 and 17 year olds in all elections.
“Fair and Equal voting rights for young people across the UK
16-17 year-olds in Scotland and Wales are able to vote in local and national parliamentary elections. Their counterparts in England and Northern Ireland do not have equal voting rights as they are not allowed to vote in any election until the age of 18.
We are part of a campaign involving a large number of young people, youth representation, democratic reform organisations, and politicians that seeks to achieve three outcomes:
1) Electoral franchise powers are devolved for local authorities and city-regions in England and Northern Ireland for all relevant elections/referendums excluding UK general elections and UK-wide referendums
2) 16 and 17 year-olds are given equal voting rights in England and Northern Ireland as their counterparts in Scotland and Wales.
3) Young people across the UK are offered statutory opportunities in their schools/colleges and local communities to learn about local and national democracy, and gain the skills and experiences to encourage life-long democratic engagement and participation.
This situation is unfair and cannot go unaddressed. Act now for fair and equal voting rights.”
The petition will be out on the 7th May see more here
Dr Kalbir Shukra from Goldsmiths, who has been working with and evaluating the Young Mayor project over the last 6 years has written papers about young people voting in the Young Mayor election see below;
1. Written evidence submitted to House of Lords Citizenship and Community Engagement commission that was published online 20th October 2017. https://research.gold.ac.uk/22023/2/69371.html
2. 2017 article ‘Extending democracy to young people: is it time for youth suffrage?’ It's in issue 116 of Youth & Policy:
http://www.youthandpolicy.org/y-and-p-archive/issue-116/ (starts on page 62)
3. An article in 2019 International Journal of Open Youth Work is in https://www.ungdomogfritid.no/wp-content/uploads/190912-third-edition-med-cover.pdf