Gazette readers give thumbs up to lowering voting age

Shields Gazette readers say the minimum voting age should be reduced to 16.

Should the voting age be reduced to 16?
Should the voting age be reduced to 16?

As Prime Minister Boris Johnson prepares to push Parliament for a General Election in December, we asked you: “Should the voting age for a general election or second referendum be lowered to 16?”

At the time of writing, around 3,200 people had voted in our Facebook poll; 61% said yes, 39% said no.

Wilf Flynn was in no doubt, saying: I’ve always supported votes at 16. It was good enough for Scotland in the Independence referendum. That should have been the watershed for change.”

Racheal Milne agreed. She said: “My 17 year old daughter is in South Tyneside youth parliament and has been for a few years. She is definitely mature enough to make an informed decision on who to vote for. I think voting age should be reduced to 16.”

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However, not everyone thought it was a good idea.

David Elliott said: “I'm sure there are those wise enough but putting the future of our country in kids that in a lot of cases can't even dress properly, would be a demographic tragedy.”

But Chelsie Jade Boyack said: “My six year-old has a better grasp of politics than some adults I know. By 16 most people have a grasp on their own morals, ideals and basic belief system that shapes their political views. Of course they should have the vote.”

Michelle Sambora was also certain – but with the opposite opinion.

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She said: “How about raising the voting age to 21. No point in having 16-17 year-olds voting. They can't officially buy cigarettes, alcohol, fireworks, knives, age-rated dvds, bet in a casino or betting shop, get a tattoo.

“They can't even work full time unless it is in an apprenticeship or training yet they expect to have a say in running the country. Like hell.”

Dean Swan came up with a novel compromise.

He said: “Yes, if they can answer a 10 point questionnaire and with an 80% passmark … should be the same for all. Is that a little controversial?”