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by Liam Kirkaldy
18 June 2015
Votes at 16 reaches final stage

Votes at 16 reaches final stage

Plans to give 16 and 17-year-olds the vote will move forward today, as legislation reaches its final stage in the Scottish Parliament.

The Scottish Elections (Reduction of Voting Age) Bill will lower the voting age to 16 from spring 2016 onwards for Scottish Parliament and local government elections.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said Scotland’s young people had made a “persuasive case” for widening of the franchise.

In comments released ahead of the Stage three debate, he said: “This Bill provides a detailed, workable and practical framework to allow 16 and 17 year olds to register for and vote in Scottish elections.

“Since we first proposed lowering the voting age, I have been extremely impressed by the thoughtful and passionate contributions that young people have made to the debate – Scotland’s young people have made a persuasive case and should be extremely proud of that.

“This Bill will give young people a permanent voice on matters that affect them and I welcome the broad cross-party support there has been for our proposals.

“Our approach is in sharp contrast to the UK Government’s plan for the forthcoming EU referendum, where 16 and 17 year olds will not have the opportunity to participate, nor will citizens of most EU countries resident in Scotland. As the First Minister has outlined, this is something we will continue to push for.”

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