Posted: Wed 15th Jul 2015

Most young people in Wales think the voting age should be lowered to 16.

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Jul 15th, 2015

More than half of young people in Wales want the voting age lowered to 16, according to a National Assembly for Wales consultation.

Launched in November by the Presiding Officer, Dame Rosemary Butler AM, the #Vote16Wales consultation has received more than 10,000 responses from 11 to 25-year-olds across Wales – the biggest ever response to an Assembly consultation.

Some of the key findings include:

  • 53 per cent of respondents said yes to lowering the voting age to 16, 29 per cent said no, while 18 per cent were unsure;
  • 51 per cent ranked the polling station as their preferred voting method;
  • 79 per cent think it’s important for young people to learn about politics and the voting system;
  • 77 per cent chose school/college as the best place to learn about politics and the voting system;
  • 64 per cent said they would like to learn more about the political system;
  • 58 per cent said they would vote at an election tomorrow if they were eligible.

“This is the biggest ever response we’ve had to an Assembly consultation and therefore offers an authoritative analysis of the views of young people on this issue,” Dame Rosemary said.

“This report [PDF] is a unique contribution to the debate about lowering the voting age.  Whilst politicians at Westminster and here in the Senedd have debated the issue at length, this gives us crucial insight to the views of the people directly affected by a potential change in the law.

The report will be launched at the “Assemble the Youth Conference” at the Senedd today 15 July, which will be attended by young people who took part in the consultation.

Total number of survey responses 9,747

Responses broken down by local authority area:

Screenshot from 2015-07-15 10:48:58

Dame Rosemary will now:

  • Use the survey results to inform party leaders / the Secretary of State in advance of May 2016 election and introduction of the Wales Bill;
  • Use the results to inform discussions with the Electoral Commission about:
  • raising young people’s awareness of the electoral process and political education more generally;
  • future electoral arrangements as drafted in the relevant provisions of the Wales Bill;
  • Use the survey results to inform the Education Minister that young people have called for more/better political education as a result of the consultation, in order to feed into any future curriculum revisions;
  • Use the survey results to further enhance our own education and outreach provision and discuss new opportunities to work with key stakeholders, such as the Children’s Commissioner and other NGOs, on new activities.
vote16 

Alyn and Deeside Am Carl Sargeant responding to the report said;

“It’s interesting to learn that most young people believe in lowering the voting age to 16 and would vote tomorrow if they could,” said Carl Sargeant.

“I’m very encouraged to hear that so many feel it is important that they learn about politics and the voting system.

“This will inform us when we as Assembly Members vote on the issue in time for the 2021 elections.

“However it also gives us a clear message that more needs to be done to help our children and young people learn about and understand politics, with large percentages saying they would like to learn more about voting and what their local representatives do.

“I try to engage with Alyn and Deeside’s young people with school and college visits, letters, and through receiving young people on work experience placements. If I can help any young people in my constituency who would like to know more about politics and my role as their assembly member in any way, I would urge them to contact my office for help.”

There were 288 responses from Flintshire, and schools and colleges taking part in Alyn and Deeside were Castell Alun High School in Hope, Coleg Cambria, which includes a Deeside campus, Hawarden High School, Ysgol Elfed, Buckley, and John Summers High School, Queensferry.

Most of the questionnaires were completed by secondary school age young people as part of the Assembly’s education and youth engagement provision in schools and colleges.

They were also filled in during ‘Vote@16?’ events including at Wrexham and at events across Wales including the Urdd Eisteddfod.

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