Should 16 years olds be allowed to vote? Many questions have been raised about England’s political system after more and more young people seem to be interested in politics.

Currently, in the UK, 1.5 billion 16-17 years olds are denied the right to vote. Amidst important issues such as Brexit, more and more young people cry out to have a say in their own future. Many have also begun to question England’s political stance on the voting age as more and more young people become interested in politics every day.

This certainly raises a question: why shouldn’t the voting age be lowered? There have been many arguments about this. Some who oppose the idea that the voting age should be lowered suggests that 16 and 17 years old are “simply not mature enough to vote responsibility” as they have not properly experienced how things run. There have also been arguments that young people are impressionable and easily influenced by others. In response, many young people argue that from the age of 16, they are legally able to marry, pay income tax and join the armed forces yet they have no say on where the taxes they pay go to and they are unable to decide on politics that directly affect them. They also say that if they are trusted to make those decisions, they should be trusted to vote in elections.

Furthermore, 16 and 17 years olds make up 23% percent of the entire UK population and that means 23% percent of the population’s idea are not being heard. By increasing the number of voters, it makes sure that the votes are more democratic and increases representation. This, therefore, means that everyone’s views are heard and put across.  

On the other side of the spectrum, statistics show 18 to 24 years old have the lowest turnout of any age group in elections and this may suggest that there is a lack of interest in politics within the younger generation. The BBC reports that less than a ⅓ of young people are fairly interested in politics.

However, by decreasing the voting age, this can increase interests in politics and bring political responsibility. From a young age, young people can develop a sense of responsibility which is a great skill for real life and the world of employment. For politicians, this can also be good news as this will also mean more that there will be more future politicians in the making. According to a report published by the Government, 13,000 students took up Government and Politics for A level in 2014 which is equivalent to 4.5% of all  A-Level students. I believe that the main reason for this is because young people have not had a reason to be interested in politics. By having younger politicians, I believe that can properly represent the views of modern society and the views of young people.

Others also argue there needs to be a line drawn and that if the voting age was lowered to 16 years old, there will be 15 years old asking for the voting age to be decreased. On the hand, many countries such as Scotland, Germany and Argentina. Using the case of Argentina, they decrease the voting age to increase political engagement from young people in 2012. In their next election, an additional 1.5 million votes from 16-17-year-old Argentinians were counted. If other countries like Scotland who are a part of the UK have already lowered their voting age, why shouldn’t England lower their voting age?

As a young person who is very interested in politics, I strongly believe the views of young people should’ve been listened to. Yiting Zeng, who has strong opinions on this matter said: “If a part of the UK has lowered their voting age, I think all 16 and 17-year-olds in the UK should be able to voice their opinion as young people will also have to face the consequences of the elections”.

I hope one day our political stance on the voting age will change for the better.