Holyrood passes bill on votes at 16 for Scottish elections
The Scottish Parliament has voted to allow 16- and 17-year olds to vote in Scottish elections starting from next year.
The Scottish Elections (Reduction of Voting Age) Bill was passed with support from all parties, and means over-16s will be able to vote in all Scottish Parliament and local government elections from next Spring.
The move follows on from last year’s independence referendum, which included 16- and 17-year olds in the franchise for the first time.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said the participation of young people in the referendum was “a huge success, which added to the unprecedented democratic engagement of the campaign and the massive turnout”.
The power to legislate on the voting age was transferred to Holyrood in the referendum’s aftermath, while further powers relating to electoral systems and the conduct of elections won’t be transferred until the Scotland Bill is passed.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “This bill provides a detailed, workable and practical framework to allow 16 and 17 year olds to register for and vote in Scottish elections.”
Meanwhile, a separate bid in the House of Commons to give 16- and 17-year olds the vote in the upcoming EU membership referendum failed yesterday.
The failed amendment to the UK government’s referendum bill was submitted by the Labour Party.