The Reading Youth Cabinet will be asking Councillors to support the campaign to lower the voting age from 18 to 16 at a full Council meeting on Tuesday March 25.
Ellie Emberson (15) and David Langridge (17) will be presenting a motion for the Council to support the ‘votes at 16’ campaign.
There are over 1.5 million 16 and 17 year olds nationally, and 3,279 in Reading, who would be eligible to vote if the voting age were to be lowered.
David Langridge, the Chair of Reading Youth Cabinet said:
“The Reading Youth Cabinet believes that it is increasingly imperative to secure the vote for people as young as 16. Naturally, our society supports the provision of rights for 16 year olds such as the right to marry, and the right to join the army.
“Voter apathy is incredibly common amongst younger voters and we believe exposing the opportunity to vote at a younger age will help to reinvent youth in politics.”
Ellie Emberson, a Reading Youth Cabinet and Youth Parliament member added:
“Many decisions are made on behalf of the young people without them being consulted. If young people had the vote, the Government would have to involve themselves more with young people and the issues that concern them.
“The amount of people voting is decreasing; there is a worry amongst politicians that people are no longer interested. Involving young people will mean there are 1.5 million more potential voters. Also it opens a gateway to educate young people in schools about politics and how it works.”
Councillor Jan Gavin, Lead Member for Children’s Services and Families, said:
“There were a record number of candidates and voters in this year’s Youth Cabinet elections, demonstrating that Reading’s young people have a voice and they want it to be heard.”
“We should be encouraging young people to become involved in politics so that they can influence and address the issues that matter to them.”