Oldham MP Jim McMahon works alongside Oldham Youth Council to present a private members’ bill supporting votes at 16, which will be debated in Parliament on 3 November.

Votes at 16 campaigns for 16 and 17 year olds to be able to influence key decisions that affect their lives such as being able to vote in all UK public elections.

Jim McMahon, Oldham West & Royton MP, in close cooperation with the youngsters of Oldham Youth Council (OYC) are working to lobby a campaign in a bid to support his private members’ bill, which stands with #votesat16, and get it through Parliament on 3 November.

Jodie Barber, Youth Service Manager at OYC, said: “Voting at 16 is important because it is about equity. Young people have adult responsibilities from the age of 16 in a number of areas including being able to join the armed forces, marry with consent, become engaged in affectual relationships and pay taxes if they are working.

“What young people are saying is, if we are giving them responsibilities at the age of 16 in all these different areas, why can’t they have the responsibility to vote.”

Other than equity and fairness, the Youngsters of OYC believe that given the right to vote is important for them in terms of being engaged and developing a lifelong behaviour of taking part in democratic processes in their country.

Jodie stressed: “In Scotland, the voting age was lowered for the Scottish Independence Referendum. Young people took that very seriously and there was a high turnout of 16 and 17 year olds voting so  why can’t we allow that across the UK.”

To support #votesat16, young people from Oldham work closely with the regional and national UK Youth Parliament and British Youth Council to communicate their campaign.

More recently, they ran up to the private members’ bill, writing to every MP in the country asking them to support votes at 16. They have also created social media content such as videos and posts around the importance of lowering the voting age to 16.

Along the extension of the franchise to 16 and 17 years old, Jim McMahon’s private members’ bill proposes that political education should be included in the school curriculum.

For more information listen to Jodie Barber’s interview.

Young people aged 18-23 talk about votes at 16:

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