North Ayrshire Youth Champion, Cllr Ruth Maguire has welcomed news that young people who will be 16 or over in next year’s referendum can now register to take part.
The SNP has long been in favour of giving 16 and 17 year olds the right to vote in all elections and has already made this possible in elections it has the power to change the franchise of such as health board elections. The power to enable 16 and 17 year olds to vote in local government and Scottish Parliament elections remains reserved to Westminster.
Electoral registration officers have begun gathering information for the electoral roll which will be used for the referendum. In addition to the usual household registration forms, people will also be given young voter forms to allow details to be collected of everyone who will be aged 16 and 17 on referendum day.
Welcoming the news, Cllr Maguire said:
“I urge all North Ayrshire young folk who will be 16 or over on September 18 next year to make sure they are on the electoral role so they can have their say on Scotland’s constitutional future.
“It is only right that 16 and 17 year olds should have their say about the country they live in – young people at this age can be paying tax, getting married and joining the armed forces. It is fair and proper that they should also be entitled to vote.
“They will have this opportunity in 2014 thanks to the progressive legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament that gives 16 and 17 year olds the right to participate in next year’s referendum.
I am very clear that this should be the norm for every election not just the referendum and will continue to support the “Votes at 16 Campaign. Our political system needs to recognise the abilities of 16 and 17 year olds by properly including them in the democratic process and showing them the trust and respect society expects of them. ”