Rebecca Clark: Should 16 year olds get the vote?

Rebecca Clark is a Nutmeg Volunteer with a keen interest in politics. She is age 16 and wishes she could have her say in the upcoming elections, read her reasons for giving 16 year olds the vote below:

Imagine a young man. He is married; his wife is pregnant; he has just joined the army; he pays income tax on his earnings.

But he can’t vote.

Although an extreme scenario, this highlights how shameful it is that 16 year olds are still unable to vote. If society has deemed us responsible enough to do all of the above actions, then surely it must follow that we are capable of crossing a box on the ballot paper.

Decisions made today will affect 16 year olds for a lot longer than most voters. Take the EU referendum for instance. 16 year olds like me will have to live with the decision, which could radically change the face of this country, for quite possibly the rest of our lives; yet the outcome is out of our hands. We have been gagged.

In response, I often hear people say things like, “But 16 year olds don’t know much about politics”. Well, to me, that is another argument why 16 year olds should get the vote. The reason why most young people aren’t well informed about politics is because there seems to be little point. Why bother reading a newspaper when you haven’t got a say anyway? But young people are capable of holding political views. This was shown in the Scottish Independence Referendum, which sparked political interest among youth and enlivened the debate as a result.

So, back to my original scenario. How is it that a father who can determine his child’s future cannot even determine his own? Hard to answer that one.