The campaign to lower the age at which an individual can vote in the UK – from its current 18, to 16 – has been given a fresh boost by the Government’s willingness to concede giving 16 year olds the vote in the Scottish independence referendum in return for the Scottish Government agreeing to a single referendum question.
As someone who sat on the Government’s Youth Citizenship commission which reported in 2009 and which considered the voting age amongst other things, . There is a useful summary of the case against here, which runs through these various myths.
Not much has changed since the Electoral Commission considered the subject in 2004 and rejected it. But those interested in the subject should also look at the Hansard Society’s Audit of Engagement carried out in 2008. They examined public faith and understanding in eleven different aspects of the British constitution. They found just three where the majority of the public said they understood the issue, and only one where the majority of the public said they approved of the current position. There was just one issue – out of eleven – where the majority of the public both understood and supported the constitution: and that was having a voting age of 18. So it’s a bizarre way to reinvigorate democracy: find the only issue where a majority both understand and agree, and then do the exact opposite.