Scottish Independence: Voting age lowered today

Nicola Sturgeon says the future will be shaped by young voters. Picture: Phil wilkinson
Nicola Sturgeon says the future will be shaped by young voters. Picture: Phil wilkinson
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Have your say

The voting age will be lowered to 16 in a landmark decision at the Scottish Parliament today.

The broadly supported change will allow younger people to have their say in the independence referendum, due to be held on September 18 next year.

MSPs will lower the age limit while passing the Scottish Referendum (Franchise) Bill at Holyrood.

The one-off change will not apply to parliamentary elections.

The Scottish Government will also hear last-ditch calls for prisoners to be given the chance to vote in the referendum.

Liberal Democrat and Green MSPs argue that removing the blanket ban on prisoner voting will be a progressive step.

The proposal has already been rejected by Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who steered the legislation through Parliament.

Opportunity

The Bill sets the voting franchise in line with normal parliamentary elections, applying to British and EU citizens registered in Scotland.

Qualifying Commonwealth citizens and armed service personnel in the UK or overseas, who are registered in Scotland, will also be allowed to vote.

Promoting the reduced voting age earlier this year, Ms Sturgeon said: “No one has a bigger stake in the future of our country than today’s young people and it is only right that they are able to have a say in the most important vote to be held in Scotland for three centuries.

“In next year’s referendum, Scotland’s 16 and 17-year-olds will be given the opportunity to shape their country’s path by choosing what type of country they want Scotland to be.”