Jo backs votes for local 16 and 17 year olds

Local MP Jo Swinson is backing action from the Scottish Secretary, Alistair Carmichael, to fast-track votes for 16 and 17 year olds for Scottish Parliamentary elections.

Both the UK and Scottish Governments have agreed an order that will devolve the power to determine the voting age for Scottish Parliamentary elections and Scottish local government elections from the UK Parliament to Holyrood in March.

Commenting, Jo said: 

“The independence referendum showed the positive and active role that 16 and 17 years olds can take in the political process and the sheer number of them who voted in East Dunbartonshire proved that they want to make their voices heard. 

“Alongside my Liberal Democrat colleagues I have long campaigned for votes at 16 and getting young people involved in politics. I am therefore delighted that the Scottish Secretary is fast-tracking legislation to make sure that 16 and 17 year olds will be able to vote in the 2016 Scottish Parliament election.  

“At 16 young people can get married, join the armed forces and pay income tax so it is absolutely right that they can vote for Governments that take decisions which directly affect them.” 


Notes to Editors:

  • For the full announcement please visit:

  • The Section 30 Order devolves power to the Scottish Parliament to legislate to reduce the minimum voting age to 16 at elections to the Scottish Parliament and Scottish local government elections. It will also enable Scottish Ministers to exercise certain functions relating to the Individual Electoral Registration Digital Service with the agreement of UK Ministers.


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