Candidacy at 18 welcomed – but Votes at 16 campaign continues

East Dunbartonshire’s Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokesperson Jo Swinson welcomed the announcement this week from the Electoral Commission that the minimum candidacy age should be reduced from 21 to 18 for standing for Parliament and the Council. The Electoral Commission stopped short of recommending lowering the voting age to 16, however.

Jo Swinson, 24, is the Liberal Democrats’ youngest Parliamentary Spokesperson. She said, “It is excellent news that the Commission are recommending that the age at which you can stand for Parliament or the Council should be lowered from 21 to 18, but they should have gone further and recommended lowering the voting age as well.

“Critics of Votes at 16 argue that it would not raise turnout in elections or engage young people in politics. I think they are missing the point.

“It’s not just about raising turnout and tackling youth engagement – it’s also about fairness. Why should a citizen who is aged 16 pay income tax, join the armed forces, leave home and get married but not be allowed to vote?”

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