Kingston Council lends support to campaign to lower voting age to sixteen

Kingston Council’s Community Engagement Committee last week approved a motion to support lowering the electoral voting age to 16 in a bid to modernise elections.

It is hoped that by extending the voting age young people will have their voices heard and participate in the democratic process.

Councillor Sam Foulder-Hughes said:  “I am really pleased that Kingston Council is now committed to supporting the British Youth Council’s campaign on Votes at 16.

“I’m proud to be one of three councillors under the age of 25 and feel it is our duty to open up the council to everyone no matter what their age.

“I hope that young people in the borough take this as a symbol of our commitment to listen to them.”

According to recent statistics from Kingston council there are 2,978 eligible 16 and 17-year-olds in the area, which would increase those on the electoral roll by 3.7%.

Campaigners have called for the voting age to be changed, arguing that as young people can pay taxes, get married and enlist in the army they should have a say over their government.

Encouraging younger people to vote is seen as an increasingly important issue, with 31 other boroughs announcing their support for lowering the voting age.

In the 2017 general election, the Labour Party, Liberal Democrats and Green Party all supported changing the voting age in their manifestos.

The Conservative Party has traditionally been against changing the voting age with a report in August of this year stating there were no plans for new legislation in the immediate future.

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