Votes at 16

Over 1.5 million 16- and 17-year-olds are denied the vote in the United Kingdom. With the third reading of the Representation of the People (Young People’s Enfranchisement) Bill scheduled for October, the case for Votes at 16 is now overwhelming.

In the run up to the vote NUS, alongside our partners in the Votes at 16 Coalition, campaigned to ensure support for the debate and we saw this with the debate to continue in October.

This was only possible by the hard work of hundreds of students and their unions across the UK. We will continue to mobilise to ensure that even more MPs support and eventually make this 18 year old campaign history, and win “Votes at 16” once and for all.

#GenerationVote demonstrated a burning appetite amongst young people to have a say over the decisions which will have a lasting impact on their own lives. There is currently an inequity of rights in this country, with young people in Scotland entitled to vote in devolved elections and young people in Wales also now being granted the vote. There is a now an overwhelming case in favour of Votes at 16, and despite the desperate attempt to block the debate a few weeks ago, we now believe that “Votes at 16” is inevitable.

For now, we need to ensure that “Votes at 16” remains at the top of the political agenda. We need to reach out into the community, continue to build relationships with politicians and influencers to make the case for extending the British political franchise. The will of many is always sure to overcome the will of the few. Take a look at how much student activism has achieved in the past twelve months. We won’t stop now.

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

But can't vote for our MPs!  

Young people need to be encouraged to take part in democracy, not kept out from it.

However, the campaign is far from over. The second reading of the bill on will take place later this year on Friday 26 October, so we need to keep up the momentum. This is why we are encouraging SUs to host their own EqualiTeas events from 18 June to 2 July to celebrate this important anniversary and raise awareness about the work that still needs to be done to really achieve equality.

Our next step is On Friday the 26th October, a bill will go to parliament to lower the voting age to 16. There’s every chance that the bill will not be heard. Or, as is the case in previous attempts, does not receive the time is needs to be properly debated and discussed.


This doesn’t stop us mobilising our movement to make it clear that this remains a societal injustice that must be remedied.


We are asking you to:

  • Tweet 30-second clips on why you support Votes at 16.

  • Contact your MP and ask them to declare their support for the campaign.

  • Download our campaigns guide with further details on how to support the campaign.


Together, we can secure Votes at 16 once and for all.