Linda Fabiani MSP for East Kilbride has urged residents to support the Votes at 16 Campaign by signing an online petition.
Linda said “I have long been a supporter of Votes at 16. It’s a fundamental element of democracy that if you pay taxes to a government then you should have a say in that government.”
Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond joined a coalition of youth organisations seeking cross-party support for proposals to allow 16 and 17 year-olds to vote.
Young Scots for Independence, the National Union of Students, Scottish Youth Parliament and the Federation of Student Nationalists came together to discuss uniting in a campaign for young adults to vote in all elections.
Mr Salmond said “This is a welcome campaign that demonstrates the growing need for all parties to give their support for young adults having the vote – not just in the referendum but in all elections.
“The Scottish Government have already acted within our powers to do so by extending votes to 16 and 17 year olds on the electoral register in the 2010 health board election pilots.
“The terms of the referendum – including votes for 16 and 17 year olds – must be decided in Scotland through the consultation process, not dictated by Westminster.”
Grant Costello, from East Kilbride and Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament added “The Scottish Youth Parliament believes everyone over 16 should have the vote.
“We agree with the Scottish Government 16-year-olds should be able to vote in a referendum on Scottish Independence. We hope both the UK and Scottish governments will work together to ensure Scotland young people can have their say on Scotland’s future.”
Votes At 16 – Lower The Voting Age In All UK Elections to 16
Responsible department: Cabinet Office
We want our political system to recognise the abilities of 16 & 17 year olds. To properly include us in our society and show us the trust and respect that society expects of us by giving us the right to vote.
A 16 year old can:
?give full consent to medical treatment
?leave school and enter work or training
?pay income tax and National Insurance
?obtain tax credits and welfare benefits in their own right
?consent to sexual relationships
?get married or enter a civil partnership
?join the armed forces
?become a member of a trade union or a co-operative society
but he/she currently cannot have any say in the government that ultimately controls these things. This is wrong.
Votes at 16 would engage young people with politics in an era where disillusion with the political establishment is at a peak. It would encourage involvement and enthusiasm from young people and most importantly, it would give us a say in how our country is ran.