Labour’s commitment to lowering the voting age to 16 would give over 1.5 million more young people the right to have their say.
New data published today reveals more than 1.5 million more young people will be eligible to take part in elections as a result of this lowering of the voting age - the biggest expansion of the franchise in nearly half a century – and shows how important 16 and 17-year-olds could be in deciding the outcome of future elections.
The figures also reveal that had a lower voting age had been in place for May’s General Election, the number of 16 and 17-year-olds on the register would exceed sitting MPs’ majorities in parliamentary constituencies across the country.
It comes as Labour confirms lowering the voting age will be an early priority for a future Labour government and allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in all elections will be a central plank of the party’s manifesto. Legislation will be brought forward at an early stage, so that the law can be changed in time for the first 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in May 2016 elections.
Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan said:
“Seeing thousands of young people marching to the polling booths in the Scottish referendum shows that there is a real appetite amongst 16 and 17-year-olds to vote. Labour wants the voices of our young people to be heard. We will give 1.5 million 16 and 17-year-olds the right to vote in elections from May 2016 onwards, the biggest expansion of the franchise in nearly half a century.
“This new data belies the myth that young people can’t make a difference. If the Tories had supported Labour’s calls to lower the voting age, then the number of 16 and 17-year-olds would have exceeded the sitting MP’s majority in seats across the country on General Election day. The potential for the youth vote swinging the result is enormous. This will make all parties sit up and respond to the needs of younger voters.
“Labour has a better plan for the next generation, we will cut tuition fees, create more and better apprenticeships, cap excessive rents and build thousands more homes.”