Alison McGovern MP

Wirral South

Thandeka Sibanda: Should the voting age be reduced to 16?

Under legislation an individual must be the age of 18 in order to vote. The idea of changing this age to 16 has led parties to come out in favour of this idea or completely reject the proposition, as 16 is seen as an age of  little understanding and knowledge.

So how would the reduction of the age limit benefit the country? Well firstly the greater diversity in opinion and perspective would be refreshing. However this sense of diversity may become a negative as the younger generation is more influenced by forms of social media and majority opinions so this may contribute to vote in an unexpected way.

With an outstanding 1,540,600 16 and 17 year olds in the UK today their outlook on politics and the world around them may seem limited to some but beneficial to another. My belief is not to rule out the idea, but to embrace the diversity in mind-set. Is it not a positive thing for young people to have an input into paving the path for their future? My belief is that it’s the priority of the education system and factors such as primary socialization that should familiarise the youth of today with what the government proposes and knowledge of other political parties.

If young people have great knowledge of politics, then there is no reason why this should not be introduced. At age 16 an individual is able to leave school, get married, join the armed forces and pay tax, a factor such as the allowance to vote would not be a large leap for 16 year olds. I believe this is due to the social construction of childhood and the greater levels of maturity in teenagers due to exposure to the media. People need to understand the greater levels of intelligence teenagers acquire and I therefore agree with the reduction of the legal age of voting as it allows them to have a form of contribution to what their future will be like.

Thandeka Sibanda


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