Top Ten Petition Tips by KN3B95M


									Winning the arguments
Some of the common questions and debates relating to votes at 16. It is important to
familiarise yourself with these arguments so you can make a strong case for people to add
their name to the e-petition.

Do young people want the vote at 16?

Thousands of young people support this campaign and are ready for the chance to vote at
16. Young people have been campaigning for votes at 16 since 2003 with the Votes at 16
coalition as they believe they should have the democratic right to influence decisions that will
define their future. Leading organisation run by young people for young people such as the
National Union of Students, the British Youth Council, the Scottish Youth Parliament, and
Funky Dragon (the Children and Young People’s Assembly for Wales) all back the Votes at
16 campaign.

There are over 1.5 million 16 and 17 year olds in the UK. These young people are
knowledgeable and passionate about the world in which they live, and are as capable of
engaging in the democratic system as any other citizen aged 18 and over. Young people
want a voice and a vote on decisions made by elected representatives that affect millions of
young people, such as cuts to the Education Maintenance Allowance, youth service cuts and
rising youth unemployment. Lowering the voting age would involve young people whose
voices should be heard in our democracy and could be a positive step towards reengaging
young people in democratic politics. To tackle youth alienation from politics we need to be

Aren’t 16 and 17 year olds too immature to vote?

16 and 17 year olds hold many responsibilities in our society. At 16, the law allows a young
person to take many decisions about their lives and contribute to our society, including:
    give full consent to medical treatment
    leave school and enter work or training
    pay income tax and National Insurance
    obtain tax credits and welfare benefits in their own right
    consent to sexual relationships
    get married or enter a civil partnership
    change their name by deed poll
    become a director of a company
    join the armed forces
    become a member of a trade union or a co-operative society.

At 16 you can sleep with your MP, have children with your MP and marry your MP, but
you can't vote for them and how they spend your taxes. Whilst certain protective rights
should remain for 16 year olds (like they do for other groups in our society), 16 is the age
when young people are sufficiently politically aware, mature, and independent to make up
their minds and choose between the various candidates standing for election.

Shouldn’t we focus on getting more 18 to 24 year olds to turnout through
better citizenship education rather than votes at 16?

Quality citizenship education should be coupled with votes at 16 because at the moment
young people are waiting to put what they have learnt into practice at the ballot box.
Lowering the voting age could play a huge role in helping young people feel more connected
with political processes which would strengthen local and national democracy and is the next
logical extension for citizenship education
Votes at 16 will inspire young people to get involved. If you vote early, you vote often.
Giving young people the opportunity to vote at 16 means they get the chance to vote
before they move out of the area they grew up in to get a job or go onto university and
voting drops down the list of priorities. Votes at 16 would mean that everyone would get
the chance to vote in a General Election before they turn 21, rather than having to wait
until they are 23.

Most countries have the voting age at 18, why should the UK be different?

The UK has always had a pace-setting precedent with regards to voting rights and shouldn’t
be left behind on votes at 16. When the UK lowered the voting age to 18 IN 1969, it was
quickly followed by France, Italy, Canada, Australia and the USA.

Other countries that have already lowered the voting age to involve young people in their
democratic processes include Germany, Austria and crown dependencies of the UK - Isle of
Man, Jersey and Guernsey. Austria became the first EU state to adopt votes at 16 for all
elections in 2007, following rolling out votes at 16 in areas from 2000, and research has
found that its 16 and 17 year olds are turning out to vote in the same way as other voters
(Research by the University of Vienna found that 59% of 16 and 17 year olds had voted in
2005 elections in Vienna, compared to a general turnout of 61%).

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