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One of the intellectual developments of a sixteen to nineteen year old according to www.education.

com is that people in this age range are seriously concerned about the future; they begin to integrate knowledge leading to decisions about the future. Sixteen year olds are mature enough to make important decisions such as voting. Their bodies are fully adult, they have been educated for at least 10 years, and most of them have some experience of work as well as school. All this allows them to form political views and they should be allowed to put these across at election time. There is no magic difference between 16-18, indeed many 16 year old are more sensible than some 20 year olds. The youth are often more passionate about their ability to affect change in the world. They are more likely to act and be more vocal about their opinions. They would demand open and honest discussion about issues they care about. 16-17 year olds are intelligent, they have the capacity to interact in our society as full adults with the exception of voting and drinking alcohol. They are able to fully experience and understand the scope of government as it affects them on a daily basis, in nearly every aspect of their lives. They should be able to engage in political debate around these things, and participate in the decision-making process by voting. They may be inexperienced, but how much more experienced is an 18 year old than a 16 year old? Voting at 16 offers an opportunity for young people to inject more passion and energy into the political system. Young people are motivated by exactly the same issues as older voters, public safety, taxation and the cost of transport. There is lack of evidence that 16 and 17 year olds are more impressionable in their voting habits than others. 16 year olds may be manipulated by friends and family or not understand all the policies but on the other hand so can anyone else. Being still in school 16 year olds could potentially have more chance to look at policies and judge them along with others who has the best policies for their age group. It would be part of learning whereas most people who are not involved in politics in some way do not have the time to analyse for themselves the possible policies. The choices that government make affect 16 year olds too. So, they should have a say in them. Plus, 16 year olds are currently learning about government in school. They are certainly informed enough to vote. And, if the argument is that 16 year olds are not mature enough to vote, we should ask, are 18 year olds really mature enough either? Many 18 year olds do not make informed decisions. In fact many 40 year olds do not make informed decisions and this does not mean we deny them the vote. This exclusion on the basis of too dumb/irresponsible based on age is biased and leads towards the notion of only intelligent people are allowed to vote, further deteriorating the concept of the democratic general will. Giving the vote to teenagers would force politicians to take them personally. Policies on education would have to take their views and interests into account for the first time. 16 year olds today are well educated and media-savvy, so they can express informed opinions. As voting is the central way in which citizens express their judgment and support of government policy, it is only fair that those who are affected by major government decisions are given the opportunity to express their opinions via the ballot box. If you deny 16 year olds the vote, it equals unequal representation. Democracy means that the government represents EVERYBODY. Are 16 year olds not part of everybody? It is important in a democracy to include as wide range of opinion as possible. The idea of representation by elected officials means that as many different views as possible should be heard at election time. Teenagers have their own interests and views which currently are not represented. This leads them to feel unvalued by society and to lose trust in the way the country is governed. When young people are involved in a meaningful democratic process they respond with

enthusiasm and responsibility. Many people of all ages are increasingly dissatisfied with the lack of passion and enthusiasm for politics and for change, a phenomenon that manifests across all age groups in engagement in single issue campaigns and protests. Giving young people the opportunity to vote would make them more engaged in society Currently many young people are deprived of democratic participation until they are 18. Opening up voting to 16 and 17 year olds would ensure that they get the opportunity to vote from a younger age and it is more likely to be seen as an essential element of the transition to adulthood. We do not make voting conditional on the awareness that the individual has about current political issues (we dont have general knowledge quizzes before you get your voting card, so this argument could be rolled out to deprive some adults of the vote). Further to this, if young people are not able to vote until they are eighteen, then the incentives to inform oneself about politics are significantly reduced (and part of the function of a democracy is to act as a political education for its citizens). Even if we do concede that young people may know less and be less interested in politics than the average individual, the act of voting is self selecting. People who are less interested in politics will be less likely to go out and vote, whether they are young people or adults. What this effectively means is that the people who will be able to take advantage of the lowering of the voting age are most likely to be politically aware teenagers; those with little interest are unlikely to turn out. Thank you.