Jenny Elizabeth: Should 16 Year Olds Get The Vote?

Jenny, 18, is an English and History student. Aside from studying she spends her time volunteering in the health sector and writing about the issues she cares about including, politics, feminism and mental health. Read her argument below on why 16 year olds should be able to vote.

Being a resident in the UK allows you the right to do a number of things. This list includes, but is not exclusive to - being able to marry, join the armed forces, consent to medical treatment, work full time, pay taxes and (of course) vote.

Your average 16 or 17 year old can do all but one of these things. Only those over 18 can vote, but why?

With local elections taking place nation-wide in Britain recently, social media has been swamped with selfies and statuses from ecstatic young people, delighted with having voted for the first time. As I have recently turned 18, I am a part of this group.

The rest of young people, however - the section that hasn’t yet reached the ‘appropriate age’ - have been forced silent. They are being denied this right.

My fellow students and peers - some of which I have met through volunteering and have expressed an interest in the politics of this country from as early as 13 - are left voiceless, yet have so much to say.

And on what grounds? A lack of maturity? Voter turnout in any age group is far from perfect - and yes, especially the 18-24 group. But we are living in a new generation full of young people who care about our country, their futures and the lives of others, and they deserve the right to have a say, whatever party they vote for.

Denying young people their votes is against democracy. At 16, we are expected to make huge decisions about our own future, yet our voices are stifled when it comes to the future of our country.
How can we expect MPs to be a voice for issues affecting youths when we don’t even have voices ourselves?