130,000 16 and 17 year-olds in Scotland will miss out on voting in May’s Scottish Parliament elections
Over 3,000 young people in East Dunbartonshire will miss out on voting in May’s Scottish Parliament elections under current voting rules.
Jo Swinson called in Parliament today for a lowering of the minimum voting age to 16, highlighting the “confused” situation surrounding the legal rights of 16 and 17 year-olds.
Speaking in the House of Commons today, Jo asked Minister for Constitutional Affairs Bridget Prentice MP:
“In this May’s Scottish Parliamentary Elections, there will be 130,000 people in Scotland who are old enough to get married, join the army, and even become company directors, but who are deemed too young to be given a vote on who governs them.
“When will the Minister recommend action to correct this injustice and give Scotland’s young people a voice at the ballot box?”
The Minister responded by expressing “personal sympathy” with Ms Swinson’s point of view.
Commenting later, Jo said:
“There are over 3,000 16 and 17 year-olds in East Dunbartonshire, and 130,000 in Scotland, who will not be voting in May’s Scottish Parliament Elections under our current voting rules.
“Young people inherit a broad range of legal rights when they turn 16, from getting married, to claiming social security benefits. We currently have a confused situation in which 16 and 17-year olds are trusted with very real and serious responsibilities, but do not yet have the right to vote on who governs them.
“Though this situation will not be put right in time for the 3,000 East Dunbartonshire young people who will miss out in May, I hope Ministers see sense and give 16 and 17 year-olds a voice sooner rather than later.”
At the time of the 2001 Scottish Census, there were 3,069 16 and 17-year olds in East Dunbartonshire, and 126,799 16 and 17-year olds in Scotland.