16 Year-Olds In Wales Could Soon Be Able To Vote

The reforms have been designed to help modernise the voting process

16 Year-Olds In Wales Could Soon Be Able To Vote

by Phoebe Parke |
Published on

It’s looking very likely that the voting age in Wales will be lowered to allow 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in local council elections.

The plans would allow young voters to have their say in local council elections in Wales in 2022. Wales would be following in Scotland’s footsteps where 16-year-olds can already vote in both Scottish and local government elections.

The plans would also allow non-UK citizens who are legally living in Wales to vote, and introduce the trial use of mobile polling stations in supermarkets, and electronic voting, according to the BBC.

More clued up than any other generation?

With more information about politics readily available online and in schools, and politicians engaging with voters on social media and in a broader range of media outlets, you could argue that this generation of young people are more exposed to, and engaged in, politics than previous generations.

‘This generation of school leavers are more clued up on politics than ever,’ Darren Hughes, the Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society told the BBC.

‘Yet despite being the first to have received citizenship education, they are being denied their full rights as citizens.

‘It would be a glaring constitutional injustice if around a million 16 and 17 year olds in England and Northern Ireland continued to be denied a vote in elections and it remains a political inequality that 16 and 17 year olds in Scotland and Wales will be unable to vote in Westminster elections.’

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How many people will this affect?

70,000 people would be affected by the changes, according to Local Government Cabinet Secretary Alun Davies.

‘I would like to see us moving the franchise to enable younger people to take part in the democratic process," he said.

‘I also want people who pay their council tax for example, but who might not be UK citizens to be able to vote.

‘We are not just looking at the EU but people from wherever they come from across the world, who live and are resident and who pay taxes in Wales should be part of our democracy.’

Will the UK follow suit?

The UK government currently has no plans to lower the voting age, and these changes won’t apply to general elections.

Follow Phoebe on Twitter @PhoebeParke

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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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