Votes at 16

Good idea? Bad idea? What do we think?

I instinctively like it as a policy. Young people that age participate in society (albeit on a reduced rate card).

Tempting to marry it with stuff you can do at sixteen – join the army – but there is plenty of stuff you cannot do at sixteen. It is contrary with recent announcements that try to keep children in education as long as possible. Or the change to the marriage act this year so the legal minimum age is eighteen.

Anything to be said for thrusting adulthood onto young people, or is that just a fact of life?

  • Give 16 year olds the vote
  • Keep it to 18
0 voters

I don’t really think any of the arguments against it hold any water, particularly after the last few years.


Absolutely wild that you can join the military at 16 but not vote.


fucking bizarre that we have child soldiers in this country isn’t it but hey ho.

I think reducing the voting age is a great idea, not sure I’d stop at 16 tbh as I think children are just as much a part of society as adults regardless of their age and they should be allowed to have more say than they currently do. Especially since they’re the ones going to be living in it.

The way our democracy is curently configured doesn’t really allow for really young kids voting though


i think marrying it with joining the military is quite reasonable, though - if you’re considered old enough to risk being shot at at the whim of your government, you deserve the right to have some say in who that government is.


Either make (just about) everything 18 or everything 16.

The inconsistencies create the half of the arguments for either position, imho.

Should we be recruiting 16 year old soldiers, but not letting them vote? Obviously no. Should we be recruiting 16 year old soldiers at all? Again, no.


I may be misunderstanding what you re saying here, but are you suggesting that the voting age should be 18, unless you’re in the military, when it’s 16?

Thought you were going to propose something out of Starship Troopers for a moment there

Were you mature enough to vote at 16?

  • Yeah man
  • No way
0 voters
  • At least as mature as any of the numpties who vote Tory
0 voters

I’m still not mature enough to vote tbh


oh no, not at all. it was probably quite poorly worded, but i was just agreeing with the point that it’s insane that you can join up at 16 but can’t vote until you’re 18.

if anything i’d argue for it to be the other way around - lower the voting age to 16 and increase the minimum age for the forces to 18.

Just to add that I believe you can’t be deployed into combat until you’re 18 under the current system.

Sorry to nitpick.

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We’re talking about the minimum age to join the army in this thread so I looked it up on Wikipedia. Surprised to learn that a quarter of all new recruits in the UK are younger than 18.

My dad joined the army when he was sixteen (with permission from his dad, and on the condition that he joined up to learn a trade and not just to be an infantryman).

Yeah I was thinking about this. I don’t really know how that could work or what we (as society) could do to make it work?

Ultimately I’m uncomfortable with kids bearing the brunt of decisions made now while having no say in them, but I’m also uncomfortable with eg parents being given proxy votes until their kids reach a certain age or whatever.

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I think you can cut this in a couple of different ways. There are certainly sixteen year olds that are immature in lots of different ways. But I cannot remember any that are not mature enough to vote at sixteen.

I was a spotty spod, probably a bit scruffy, learning how to be responsible with money from my first job, treating my first girlfriend right, forming a taste for alcohol, shrugging off the shackles of mandatory education. Your life is in transition at that time and everyone is learning. But a lot of sixteen year olds have developed world views by then and it’s based on everything adults take in to inform their decisions, so why not?

Probably not very well informed, but certainly more compassionate than the average adult voter and that counts for a lot

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it did cross my mind that that might be the case. i meant to google it before i posted and then got sidetracked and forgot.

that’s marginally better, i suppose. although you’re still making the commitment as a child - not sure what the provisions are to back out if you change your mind as you get older?

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Yeah I don’t know either. Voting in the present system doesn’t really equate to having the hand on the tiller of your own life. And (roughly speaking) the younger you are, the more immediate the feedback of your choices has to be in order for you to take them seriously (this is not well put but I can’t think of another way). So just giving 8 year olds votes in general elections wouldn’t really be addressing anything, but it would encourage govts to put more political indoctrination into schools, so that’s not really the answer.

We (everyone, child or adult) need more direct say and control over our day to day lives. But that’s not consistent with capitalism so dunno