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EU Referendum: 16 and 17 year-olds are being denied a say on their future

Tuesday 24 May 2016 NUS News

New NUS research shows that three quarters would vote in the EU referendum if given the chance.

As an original member of the Votes at 16 coalition, NUS has consistently campaigned for the right to vote to be extended.

And poll research now shows that 76 per cent of 16 and 17-year-olds would vote in the EU referendum if they had the chance, exploding the myth that young people are apathetic about the result.

NUS National President Megan Dunn has said it is a “scandal” that 16 and 17 year-olds are being missed out.

“Whether it’s providing opportunities to work and study freely across EU countries or targeting funding to some of the most deprived areas of the UK, it’s clear the EU matters to young people,” she said.

Young people will be most affected by the outcome of the referendum, yet 1.5 million 16 and 17 year-olds are not allowed to cast a vote.

Evidence from the 2014 Scottish referendum shows that young people can turn out in large numbers when given the chance.

“Giving 16 and 17 year-olds the right to vote in the Scottish independence referendum allowed them to make their voices heard,” said NUS Scotland President Vonnie Sandlan. “If UK politicians want young people to engage with politics, they must give them the ability to do so.”

If you turn 18 on or before Thursday 23 June you can vote in the EU referendum, but you must be registered by Tuesday 7 June. It only takes five minutes - register online here.

If applicable, students should take particular care over whether they are registered at their term-time or home address.

You can sign up to our Votes at 16 campaign here