Should the voting age be lowered? Everyone will have different opinions about this so lets start with the facts; In England the legal voting age is 18 years old and you cannot vote if you are in prison. There may be other reasons or specific cases but to keep it digestible lets start there.

I am a teenage girl who has recently turned 16, so I guess this question and debate should involve my opinion too as it affects me and my peers. If you were to ask me if I think I am old enough to vote, I don’t think I would be able to give a simple black and white, yes or no answer. In one sense I know I have strong opinions and have had open conversations about previous votes with my parents before I was even 16. However I don’t feel as though I know or understand enough to make a fully informed decision. But you do have to question whether this is because I just don’t need to know as of yet. I truly believe that if I was able to vote now (in an election in a week for example) I would do my research and make sure I was informed in what I was voting for. I would at the very least look up the different parties and what they each stood for.

But what about the rest of my peers? I know for a lot of people my age it wouldn’t just purely be that they can’t be bothered to do the research but instead that they aren’t even certain what they stand for, what values are important to them. But it’s not even mandatory to vote so they don’t necessarily need to have enough of an opinion to vote yet, however it gives those that do know the opportunity to have a voice.

What about newly turned adults though, how much more certain are they? What is it at 18 that means you are suddenly capable of voting? You have to question whether it is simply the fact that they have the right to vote that makes them capable- would they be in the same position myself and my peers are in if the voting age was higher?

After talking to Margaret Estlick, a retired UK citizen, I realised how things have reversed from history. Margaret explained, “The voting age in my day was 21, which again is strange as in lots of ways we were more grown up, got married much younger on average, started work much younger etc etc than the majority do today.” We must consider whether the laws surrounding voting age are even proportional to the average maturity of the age group it affects. However, what about the effect of the media? Margaret continued, “There was no social media then to let you know what possibilities there were,” which is reflective of what I have observed. Without the means of Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat I don’t believe that I would have known a thing about the American Election last year- maybe only the results. But with those forms of news I was able to follow it, form my own opinion and understand what it meant when Biden was elected.

At 16 there are so many things you are legally deemed as responsible and capable enough of doing. For example, giving consent, some places will even allow you to get tattoos and even make decisions that affect our very own futures (through GCSEs and A Levels). And at not much older- merely one year at 17- you can drive, so why can’t we vote. Especially as the things being voted on will affect our lives and the future that we have to live in so much.