Bill to give 16-year old Scots vote launched

16 and 17-year olds were eligible to vote in the Scottish independence referendum. Picture: Alex Hewitt
16 and 17-year olds were eligible to vote in the Scottish independence referendum. Picture: Alex Hewitt
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LEGISLATION to lower the voting age to allow 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in Scottish Parliament and local elections has been published.

The publication of the Scottish Government’s Bill marks the beginning of the parliamentary consideration process.

This was a truly inspiring period that led to a level of political engagement that few would have predicted

John Swinney

Subject to agreement at Holyrood, the Bill will be passed in time to ensure 16 and 17-year-olds are able to vote in the May 2016 Scottish election.

It was agreed by the Smith Commission that powers over Scottish and local elections should be transferred to Holyrood.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “September’s independence referendum stimulated an unprecedented level of political engagement in Scotland, not least from the 16 and 17-year-old young people who grasped the opportunity to vote for the first time with both hands.

“This was a truly inspiring period that led to a level of political engagement that few would have predicted and that can only be positive for Scotland going forward.

“I warmly welcome the broad cross-party support for the Scottish Government’s proposal to extend the right to vote in Scottish Parliament and local government elections to include 16 and 17-year-olds.

“I am pleased that the legislation has now been introduced to Parliament for consideration in good time for the Scottish election in May 2016.”

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