Votes at 16

Vote at 16

NUS is committed to Votes at 16 and is campaigning, with a number of other organisations, to make this a reality. Over 1.5 million 16- and 17-year-olds are denied the vote in the United Kingdom. For years there has been a consistent demand from young people for Votes at 16, and a clear case for change. That case is now overwhelming.

So why is this important?

At 16, people become adults and take control of their own futures - so why can't we have the basic right of all adult citizens of a say in how the country is run? We can:

  • Leave school
  • Work full time
  • Pay taxes
  • Leave home
  • Get married
  • Join the armed forces
  • Make lots of decisions about our future

We're all interested in issues; from climate change to racism, from education to crime. Voting is the fundamental way that we have our say on issues, and we think that at 16, young people are mature enough to be properly listened to.

Stopping 16- and 17-year-olds from voting and having the chance to be heard sends a signal to them and to society, especially politicians, that our views aren't valid and that we aren't real citizens.

At a time when people feel that politics isn't relevant to them, young people need to be encouraged to take part in democracy, not kept out from it.