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Introduction: The 'Votes-at-16' Debate in the UK

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal article

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>14/07/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Parliamentary Affairs
Issue number3
Number of pages4
Pages (from-to)503-506
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This series of articles examines aspects of the increasingly resonant and polarised debates across the UK about the lowering of the voting age to 16 years. The previous UK-wide extension of the age of franchise, from 21 to 18 years in 1969, attracted little partisanship or attention (Loughran et al., 2021). This was remarkable given the UK was the first democracy to lower the voting age to 18 years. The largely consensual nature of the change to 18 years has not been replicated for ‘Votes-at-16’ for Westminster elections, although greater agreement has been evident in Scotland and Wales. In Wales, the Senedd has used its recently devolved constitutional powers to define its own electoral rules and join Scotland in becoming the second nation of the UK to lower the voting age for national and local elections. These moves have added to the complexity, asymmetry and division around young people’s voting rights across the UK.