Should the voting age be lowered to 16?


The voting age, in the United Kingdom, is 18 years old. Should it be lowered to 16 years old? The Scottish 16-17 year olds were given this right during the Scottish Independence Referendum in 2014 and many argued that 16-17 year olds should get this right in the Brexit Referendum also (although it never happened).

Here is a video of Emily Thornberry, Shadow First Secretary of State, arguing for votes for 16 year olds:

Opinions from the public:

What do you think? To be honest, I am pretty undecided on this issue. Some younger people are absolutely clueless while others seem to know more than most adults.

What should the voting age be?

  • 16
  • 18
  • 21

0 voters


Something else I have just seen which may relate to this thread:


A German co-worker of mine who immigrated here when he was in his late 20s always talks about how the maturity level of the American youth is so far behind other countries. As a immigrant myself (although I grew up in the US, I’m pretty up to date with my motherland as my family is still over there), I completely agree. Many 16 years old kids around the world have more responsibilities, begin living on their own, start a business, etc.

Of course there are some fine young people who are well educated on current issues and politics. But thinking back to when I was 16 - I was just way too impressionable. I wouldn’t be against lowering the voting age in America if the typical American 16 year old wasn’t so…immature.


No, because 16 year olds are not legal adults- if they were, I’d be ok with it. You shouldn’t get a say in the running of the country if you do not possess legal responsibility for your actions.


I’ll be honest, I think its the same in the United Kingdom too. My, admittedly limited, contact with young people in Italy seems to confirm this - They seem a lot more informed on a political, cultural and emotional level.
I wonder if there is something about the Anglosphere that infantilises its young people?

Do you think that if 16 year olds in America were given more rights and responsibilities then this would make them act more mature at a younger age? There seem to be a lot of restrictions on young people in America (you cant buy alcohol until you are 21 years old for example). Maybe if we lifted these restrictions then that would help the younger generations become more adult?

In your Motherland (South Korea, right?) do young people have more rights and are young people expected to take on more responsibilities?
Maybe this is a factor.

So… giving 16 year olds the right to vote may actually make them more mature?

In what way are they not legal adults in Australia? Maybe they should be made legal adults and given the vote?


@Sharpandquic you voted 16 years old. Are there reasons for this or is it just a gut feeling?


So I haven’t been to South Korea in over 15 years so things might be different now, but I lived there until I was 7 years old and frequently communicate with my relatives there. Even beginning as toddlers, you’re given a lot more trust than the toddlers in America. You can stay home by yourself. You can take the city bus to run errands for your parents. You learn different languages and are expected to excel in academics and find your niche at a young age. So, yeah I would agree that generally the kids in South Korea are held up to MUCH higher expectations than the kids growing up in the US.

BUT I don’t think we can argue that the difference between kids in South Korea and US is strictly based on the level of expectations and responsibilities they have/don’t have. Creating more mature and accountable generations to come in the US is not going to be as easy as lifting restrictions on kids to give them permission to simply DO things. It’s not necessarily that kids in Korea have more freedom, but more so that their culture holds them more accountable. It’s a competitive society over there and everyone is encouraged to be well informed.


I feel between 16 and 18, people tend not to change their political views too drastically, so I see it as if you’re going to let 18 year olds vote, you might as well let 16 year olds vote.

Additionally, I believe you should be able to drink, join the army, have adult sex, and vote at the same age, and I see 16 as the lowest age for that.


Well for a start, if they commit a crime, they are sent to juvenile court rather than the main courts. They can’t get married (at least, not without permission, to the best of my knowledge), can’t drink, etc.

And 16 year olds definitely do not need adult status in Australia. As much as I admire the will for societal change that teens have, they should at least finish school before we talk about adult status.


No. abolish voting and establish a Hoppean Monarchy.


Do they pay any sort of taxes? In the US, there’s income tax if they work, toll, fuel and vehicle taxes if they drive, sales tax on items purchased.

There was a historical event called the Boston Tea Party during the American revolution that dumped huge shipments of tea into the harbor to protest [british] taxation without representation.

If you pay taxes, you should be able to vote. Either that or minors should be exempt from paying them.


Yes, in the UK 16-17 year olds pay tax.
No taxation without representation is a really interesting American viewpoint on this issue which I hadn’t previously considered.

I see you have abstained from voting thusfar. Do you have a view on this beyond the taxation issue?


I find the bus thing really surprising :open_mouth: I didnt even know that toddlers could even navigate buses in that way!? Wow.
Did you do this when you were younger?

You’re absolutely right - Such a big cultural change cant just happen overnight.
These things change time and the adults in society have got to change their attitudes too.


I think it should stay 18. At least here in America, I don’t think most 16 year olds know enough/care enough about politics. Not to say that its any different as adults, but maybe since they are affected by whatever legislation at 18 (talking about stuff like taxes and insurance etc.) they might care about it then.


Yeap, I think I was 6 when I took the city bus with my 2 year old brother just to go to this playground in another city LOL. I’m sure it’s not THAT common since the area is a lot more advanced right now but it’s not a peculiar thing to see young elementary school aged kids taking the buses on their own.


16 year olds already inherit most adult rights in not just Britain but most of Europe. In many cases they are legal adults, often lacking one or 2 final rights that make it “complete”. The USA has one of these rights, alchohol consumption at 21, for instance


I think it’s a bit different down here. It being the case that 16 year olds have most legal rights, would you argue that they be given the other rights and made legal adults?


I think adulthood shouldn’t assigned at an arbitrary age but based on relative achievement of the person


No, 18 is a good age. A decent sum of people are interested in politics and are educated enough, for the most part, to make reasonable choices.


I would disagree, youth voting rates are often very low, youths vary incredibly often on how responsible and effective they are. There are 21 year olds who I wouldn’t trust with the age of consent and 16 years who have earned it, age is a terrible operational number that literally has no bearing on your development. People grow at different speeds