LANDMARK legislation allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in next year’s Scottish independence referendum passed in the Scottish Parliament last week by a vote of 103 to 12.
The legislation will allow citizens younger than 18 to vote in Britain for the first time.
The referendum on September 18th, 2014, will ask Scots whether they want to remain part of the United Kingdom or become an independent country. Western Isles MSP, Alasdair Allan, voted to extend the vote to 16 and 17-year-olds in next year’s historic independence referendum.
Speaking following the vote at the Scottish Parliament, Alasdair Allan commented: “Last week the Parliament voted to ensure that 16 and 17-year-olds in Scotland have their say. The referendum is Scotland’s first chance to decide on independence for 300 years, and it will affect young people more than anyone.
“If 16 year olds are old enough to pay tax or join the armed forces, I believe they are old enough to have the vote, and I am glad the parliament agreed with these arguments.”
The voting franchise sets out that all British and other European Union citizens registered in Scotland will be able to vote in the referendum, along with qualifying Commonwealth citizens and armed service personnel in Britain or overseas who are registered in Scotland.
The last time the voting franchise was expanded was 1970, when Westminster lowered the minimum voting age for general elections from twenty-one to eighteen.