British Government considers lowering voting age to 16

I think it’s a great idea. Teenagers are expected to obey the law; therefore they should be given a say in what the law is.

Your thoughts?

Well I’m obviously not British, so can only comment on this tangentially. Personally, having a teen aged son, I’m not sure if giving the franchise to someone who is 16 is a good idea. Generally speaking, most 16 year olds are not really interested in politics or the issues (or much of anything besides their own little worlds) IMO. In addition, they don’t have much real world experience to make decisions with, nor have they been paying taxes very long, so things aren’t quite ‘real’ to them. Even at 18 its a stretch IMO…16 is too young.

Or, maybe I’m just an old fart and am full of shit besides.


If 16 year olds aren’t interested in politics, it’s because they can’t participate in it, IMO. When you can’t vote, democracy isn’t something you’re a part of, it’s something that happens to you.

Well…I suppose that could be a point. However, I still contend that even 18 yo that CAN participate are, by and large, uninterested in learning the issues (or in politics in general), and lack real world experience in any case. I make the concession though that, if 18 is old enough to die for your country, then its definitely old enough to vote in an election.

Well, maybe some other people will chime in with some opinions. Mine remains that 16 is too young to grant the franchise too.

But thats just my opinion…I could be wrong. :slight_smile:


Why stop at 16 year olds? I know some pretty bright kindergartners.

8 year old children are also expected to obey the law. Should they be given a say in what the law is? I think limiting voting to those we consider legal adults is a decent idea.


Those who aren’t interested won’t vote anyway. Why should the law exclude the (many) who are?

If they can comprehend the issues, then sure… in proportion to their legal responsibility. An eight year old doesn’t have much, if any, of that.

OTOH, sixteen year olds are charged and convicted of crimes - usually in different courts with different punishments, but they are often tried as adults. Anyone who could legally be held to adult standards deserves to vote on those standards. Anyone who has taxes taken out of his paycheck deserves a say in how that money is spent.

Why not just lower the age of adulthood then?


A much better argument could be made for raising the voting age, not lowering it. I would say 35 is a reasonable number, by this time a citizen has largely formed their opinions for concrete reasons, usually married, (or not) raised children, matured, and generally has a clue about life’s foibles and follies.

A 16 year old is a dependant. There is an obligation on parents to educate/guide their children until they legally become adults. It is at that point that full citizenship kicks in, most markedly through full voting rights.

As to taxation, well the personal allowance in the UK is about $9000. Anyone making less than that pays no taxes. If being taxed is a criteria for voting, what about the unemployed or stay-at-home dads/moms?

That would be income tax of course.

If they ever lowered the voting age to 16 in my country I’d seriously consider moving to another country right quick (though not England if Blair has his way). I deal with teenagers frequently enough and remember being one well enough to know that they are defintely not mature enough to handle the responsibilities of voting and such. Most teenagers I’ve met are clueless, self-absorbed idiots who need a few more years to get it together.

I’m not saaying they deserve no respect, but I think even Piaget would tell you that most 16 year olds have not yet fully passed the self-focused stage and are still feairly clueless about how the world actually works. I don’t want them polluting my vote. I think Blair is proposing this idea because he fears losing the next election and knows that young people tend to lean more left than right.

But then, I’m an old curmudgeon like xstisme. Look for us on a porch, snapping at all those young wippersnappers to grow up.

I agree, although that would mean I’d have to wait another 9 years to vote.

Huge, HUGE difference between how you vote at 18 and how you vote at 35, I think.

I’d say 25. You’re likely done with college/university you’ve got a job and you’re definitely on your own.

I completely disagree with RAISING the voting age. It was lowered in the first place to be fair to the men being forcibily sent to Vietnam. If you are old enough to be drafted, you are old enough to elect the people who have enacted that draft. Now if you wanted to raise the draft age to 35, then maybe we can talk, but I don’t think that would help our military out much.

Well in Canada it was reduced to 18 from 21 in 1970. And similarly, in the UK it was dropped to 18 in 1969. Basically it seems that the Baby Boomers drove the voting age down, seeing how there were no massive drafts in either Canada or the UK in that time period.

Even if all the newly-emancipated teenagers voted as a group for the Monster Raving Loonie Party, there wouldn’t be enough of them to seriously affect things, right? Unless there was a really close race on some issue, and they could form a swing vote?

Whatever the teens’ voting preferences, I think the age should be lowered to 16.

How much worse of a job could 16 yr olds do than 18 yr olds?

That said, I suspect that there’s an alternative ulterior motive for the move. Nothing I can point to other than a general distrust for politicians.

Is that generation as large over there as it is overhere?

On the basis of what? What new criteria do 16 year olds have now that suddenly justifies allowing the vote to them? Their age? Well there are many mature 15 year olds. Taxation? Nope, other are not taxed yet vote.

In my view it comes down to independence, and for general purposes a 16 year old is not independent. Once you are fully responsible for yourself and your actions within the community (i.e. considered an adult) you are allowed the right to vote.