I recently received my national insurance number and despite not yet being sixteen, it made me aware of all the new opportunities I would soon have. At age sixteen, we can leave home, apply for a passport, join the armed forces all without parental consent, we are now in control of our lives. We can get married and consent to sexual activity; we can work full-time and even join a trade union. We can even pilot a glider. With all of these rights are we not essentially adults? And with all of these new opportunities, surely the politics of our country affect us more than they ever have before. However, in the UK, you can only register to vote at sixteen and have to wait until you are eighteen to actually vote. In my opinion, this should be lowered.


As I described before, all of these opportunities that are handed to us at sixteen by the government, effectively make us adults. Yet we are still ignored. Those working are paying taxes to sustain a state that takes no interest in their opinions. Furthermore, sixteen was seen as responsible enough to get a passport yet too young to vote on leaving the EU. Perhaps with a wider demographic, results may have changed. According to YouGov, the choice to remain increased as age decreased suggesting that with lowered voting ages, outcomes could have been different. 


The main argument against lowering the age is that sixteen-year-olds are too immature and unaware of current affairs. However, in my opinion, this couldn't be further from the truth. Most of today's youth are very conscious of political issues and changes, possibly even more so than numerous adults. In fact, many adults who voted in the Brexit referendum still scarcely understand what it meant for them. With the increasingly widespread use of social media such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, it would be abnormal to be ignorant of current political affairs.


In addition to this argument, surely including more young people in the decisions of our country would increase their interest? Perhaps if the voting age was lowered it could be included in the education system,  teaching our youth how to vote responsibly, for they are the future of the country.


So I believe the voting age should be lowered to sixteen because, despite having opportunities that essentially make us adults, we have no voice. We, as the future generation, will be most affected by rulings we have no vote in.


Charlotte Brereton, Newstead Wood School