The Scottish Parliament election in May will be the first where 16 and 17 year olds will have the right to vote following the unanimous passage of the Scottish Elections (Reduction of Voting Age) Bill in June last year. Scotland is only the second country in the European Union to lower the voting age to 16 for national elections.
The latest poll for TNS-BRMB shows that those aged between 16-24 are least likely to be ‘certain to vote’ in the Scottish Parliament election – with a net rating of 62 per cent, compared to 83 per cent for those aged 55-64. These findings are mirrored in the latest Survation poll for the Daily Record – which finds that 48.8 per cent of 16-34 year olds say they ‘would definitely vote’ in the election, compared to 83.4 per cent of those aged 55 and above.
I cannot stress enough how important it is that our young people know they can take part in the Scottish Parliament elections. I am delighted that voting rights for 16 and 17 year olds are now extended to Scottish Parliament elections.
The Scottish independence referendum was an incredible breakthrough for democracy in allowing 16 and 17 year olds to vote. One of the most inspiring aspects of the referendum campaign was the way so many young people got involved with politics for the first time – more than 100,000 16 and 17 year olds used their vote in 2014.
I see day in and day out how the UK Government at Westminster punish young people, ignoring their needs, restricting their access to benefits and the minimum wage because they have no say in the democratic process.
With less than three months to go until the Scottish Parliament election, there has never been a more important time to make sure that you are registered to vote. People have until 18 April to register and you can do it online at www.registertovote.scot.