Linda Fabiani MSP for East Kilbride has expressed her joy as the Scottish Parliament passed legislation to enable 16 and 17 year olds to vote in next year’s referendum hailing it as a step forward for democracy in Scotland.
Today’s vote on stage 3 of the Scottish Independence Referendum (Franchise) Bill was overwhelmingly backed in the Scottish Parliament by 103 votes to 12.
The SNP have long been in favour of giving 16 and 17 year olds the right to vote in all elections and has already made this possible in elections it has the power to change the franchise of such as health board elections. The power to enable 16 and 17 year olds to vote in local government and Scottish Parliament elections remains reserved to Westminster.
Commenting Linda, who is a member of the Parliament’s Referendum Bill Committee said:
“This is a wonderful day in the Scottish Parliament’s history sending out the message loudly and clearly that 16 and 17 year olds should have the right to shape the country they live in. The progressive legislation the Scottish Parliament has passed today is a forward looking reform that we can all be proud to have voted for.
“When 16 and 17 year olds can pay taxes, get married and joined the armed forces, it is only right and fair that they should also be entitled to vote and I call on Westminster to make it the norm for every election.
“I congratulate the work of the Scottish Youth Parliament, Chaired by East Kilbride’s Grant Costello, in showing that 16 year old are perfectible capable of speaking with their own voice and I am delighted they will be able to make that voice heard in the Referendum next year.”