Votes at 16 would be ‘seminal moment’ says Youth Parliament chair

Youth Parliament chair Grant CostelloScottish Youth Parliament Chair Grant Costello has said that a long awaited decision to  extend the franchise to 16 and 17 year olds would be a “seminal moment for Scottish democracy”  The statement comes following an announcement last night that a deal has been reached on conditions for the independence referendum – the main point of which is expected to be a single yes/no question. However, it has emerged that giving young people the vote is also expected following the meeting between Westminster and Holyrood on Monday.

Mr Costello also said that “the detail of the announcement will be very important.

“There needs to be a clear commitment to ensure the process is in place for all 16-year-olds to vote”

If 16 and 17 year olds are allowed to vote, it will be the second time that young people in Scotland have been able to vote in elections. In 2010, young voters were allowed to take part in local health board elections in Fife and Dumfries and Galloway, as part of a trial by the then Health Minister Nicola Sturgeon. However, many 16 year olds were unable to vote due to them not being on the version of  the electoral roll used for the election.

But, as it stands, 16 year olds able to vote in the 2014 referendum will not be able to vote in the general election the following year. Costello addresses this, saying “If we trust young people to vote on Scotland’s constitutional future, then we must surely see the case for allowing them to vote in all elections.”

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