Two leading youth organisations have called on MPs to vote in favour of extending the franchise to 16 and 17 year olds throughout the UK for all elections.
NUS Scotland and the Scottish Youth Parliament made the push for votes at 16 prior to a recent vote on the issue at Westminster.
Robin Parker, President of NUS Scotland, said: “We welcome the Westminster debate to extend the franchise to all 16 and 17 year olds across the UK.
“The Edinburgh Agreement’s extension of the franchise will allow 16 and 17 year olds in Scotland for to take part in one of the most important questions ever faced by the people of Scotland. It’s only right that if 16 and 17 years olds can be trusted to make an informed choice about Scotland’s independence, they should have the ability to choose their representatives in the Scottish and Westminster Parliaments.
“We urge all people to contact their MP ahead of this vote and urge them to vote in favour of extending the franchise for 16 and 17 year olds for this and all future elections.
“We also look forward to seeing details of the Scottish Government’s plans for all 16 and 17 year olds have the information, and opportunity, to register and cast their vote in the referendum.”
Grant Costello MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, said: “It’s great to see real momentum building behind the campaign for votes at 16. The Edinburgh Agreement has already set a precedent that 16-year-olds should be allowed to vote. This debate now provides an opportunity to push forward the debate, and open up the opportunity for 16-year-olds to vote in all elections.
“I hope Scotland’s MPs take this opportunity to do the right thing. In Scotland we already allow 16-year-olds to get a job, get married and join the army – it’s time they were also given the chance to vote for their government.” together in an agreement that opens the door to votes at 16.”
Local councillors in the Fraserburgh and District and Troup wards also joined in the debate. Commenting, Independent councillor for Troup Mark Findlater said: “My view is that I have no problem with 16 and 17 year olds voting. When I was 17 I was serving in the Army. If you’re old enough to fight for your country, then you’re old enough to vote.”
Troup councillor John Duncan commented: “I think it should be 18 for all elections. At 15, 16 you have no idea of the open world. I wouldn’t like it to go ahead.”
Fraserburgh councillor Charles Buchan added: “I think it’s a great idea. If people are old enough to get married and work, it’s only right that they should have a say in how things are organised.
“The most important questions, for example, the independence referendum, are self-evidently going to affect young people.
“Some people say young people aren’t mature enough to understand the issues but I disagree. As a teacher for over 40 years I have great respect for the abilities of young people.”