Give vote to 16 and 17-year-olds, urges Leicester's deputy mayor (POLL)
Leicester's deputy mayor is calling for 16 and 17-year-olds to be given the vote.
Councillor Rory Palmer thinks dropping the voting age from 18 to 16 could turn around flagging interest in politics.
Coun Palmer, who, at the age of 30 is one of the youngest Leicester city councillors, says the Government and the Electoral Commission should test the idea at the 2014 European elections.
The European polls traditionally fail to move the British electorate. If the experiment resulted in more votes being cast, it could then be expanded to other elections, including local ones, said Coun Palmer.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
Earlier this month, the Scottish National Party won the right for 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in Scotland's upcoming independence referendum.
Coun Palmer would also like to see 16 and 17-year-olds participate in next month's police and crime commissioner elections to boost what experts predict will be a poor turn-out. However, it is unlikely that any changes would be made at such short notice.
Opponents say the voting age should remain at 18 because younger people are not yet ready for the responsibility.
Coun Palmer said: "I have always been fairly ambivalent about lowering the voting age, but I have been swayed by young people I have met in schools and colleges in Leicester.
"Anyone who thinks they can't understand the issues or don't care about them is wrong. They are articulate and capable of making calculations on political issues.
"I say we should give it a try at the next available national election, which is the European one in 2014 – get a Royal Commission to properly look at what happens and then see whether we need to franchise more people.
"I'm not for a second saying it would be a magic solution to falling interest in politics, but it's got to be worth a go."
Conservative city councillor Ross Grant disagrees with lowering the voting age.
"I don't think it is a good idea," he said. "I think we'd be better served by putting efforts into getting the 18 to 24-year-old age group voting.
"They can, but a lot of them don't. That is a big worry and we need to deal with that.
"Also, if you are going down this route, why stop at 16? It seems arbitrary. Would a 16 year old be better informed than a 15-year-old? I'm not so sure."
College student Sean Syrett, 16, of Thurnby Lodge, is a member of the city's Young People's Council.
He said: "I do and I don't think it's a good idea. Some of us know what we want and would like the vote. It would give us the opportunity to put our views across and give us a bit more responsibility.
"But I think some younger people would use their vote as a chance to mess around and wouldn't treat it as seriously as they should."