Votes at 16: Would younger voters change our society?

By Alex Leonards

If the Labour Party win next year’s may election, 16 and 17 year olds will be able to vote.

Speaking on ITV’s Bite the Ballot, a campaign designed to encourage more young people to vote, Ed Milliband discussed plans to extend the voting pool. The Labour Party leader has said these plans are part of a “commitment to hearing the voices of young people in our democracy” and a recognition of the need to display trust in young people.

Milliband used Conservative cutting of Education Maintenance Allowances (EMA) as an example of a decision that may not have been made if younger people could vote.

According to a government census, only 38% of 18-24 year olds voted in 2012.

If 16 year olds could vote, would it have a big impact on society? Or would the trends of recent years be echoed by a lack of teenage voters?


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