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Lower the voting age to 16

Comment 27th July 2010

The governement exists to serve the population it governs, when we are born we have no say in how the government affects our lives but at a given age we are given the right to choose between which party of people we would like to govern us and if we are in the majority we get the party we wanted.

It is obvious why we don't give babies the vote: they can't have formed opinions on each party and their policies. For the same reasons we don't give 8 year olds the vote either but is it fair to say that at 16 people are unable to understand and asses various people and policies and then choose who they think is the best candidate? I believe at 16 people are intelligent enough to do this, let's not patronise our youth rather involve them and perhaps we will find that there won't be so many people who simply just vote as they think it makes no difference.

Why does this matter?

There is a lot wrong with current laws regarding the ages just before you legally turn an adult.

A 16 year old gets paid less for doing the same job as an 18 year old, i work part time in WH Smiths and my pay will rise around 20% on my 18th birthday, but since the age of 16 you have to pay the same for public transport despite at 16 you will have less money

A 16 year old is allowed to have sex, they are legally deemed to be able to understand the possible negative consequences of the act but they are not allowed to access pornography. For me this isn't important since i don't and don't want to look at it but it seems absurd that it is seen as worse to watch a recording of people having sex than actually participating in the act.

These are just 2 examples of inequalities that exist in this tricky age range, in the equalities act 2010 (starting to be implemented in the autumn) there is legislation on discriminatory behaviour on the grounds of age, age is one of 7 protected characteristics. This mainly focuses on the older age range but it is truely unequal to pay 2 people different wages for doing the same job to the same standard because of age, this is discrimination.

There's a general held view that at 16 people won't care about politics at all and so lowering the voting age will only benefit a tiny amount of politically interested teens but it is just not true. At my college where the majority of students are 16 and 17 we had the local election candidates do a question time style debate, the hall was overflowing with people and it ran way over its alloted time since so many people had questions and couldhave easily go on for much longer. Most young people feel disaffected by politics, that they just don't listen to young people views seriously, most of us have an opinion on the whole political spectrum of issues but our opinion does not count
 

I think at 16 people are mature enough to be able to make choices on who they vote for, thing is this issue is in the distant past for all of those who are in positions to affect. At 16 you have a tough time you get alot of the bad things that come with being an adult but you don't have the same rights on so many other fronts. Their views matters, let tomorrow's future have a say in their own future

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