Youth voice ‘ignored’ in EU referendum

Youth voice ‘ignored’ in EU referendum


The EU referendum result could have been different if 16- and 17-year-olds had been allowed to vote, with 82% of them saying they would have voted to remain, according to research by The Student Room.  

The Student Room pointed out that, with 1.46 million 16- to 17-year-olds in the UK and 82% of these saying they would vote remain, that number would match the 1.2 million difference between the leave and remain votes, potentially changing the result completely.

Jack Wallington, community director at The Student Room, said: “It’s unacceptable that such a large number of our younger generation were ignored in the EU referendum, despite the fact they are legally able to work full-time. They are the people who will live with the result decided for them the longest.

“Our poll shows 82% of 16- and 17-year-olds and 71% of 18- to 24-year-olds wanted to remain in the EU. If the voting age had been lowered to 16, there could have been a very different outcome. As per the Scottish referendum in 2015, where the voting age was lowered for 16- and 17-year-olds, we believe the UK should have done the same. Views of our younger generations cannot be overlooked when the impact is to so disproportionately affect them.

“The time has come to seriously discuss the age of voters in the UK and the result of the referendum.”

Some of the responses to the research were captured by The Student Room. These included:

“It's very frustrating for me as a 17-year-old to see decisions being made by people who will honestly die within the next ten years while I am unable to have a say. The future belongs to us, the youth.”

“My entire family voted out but if I had the chance I would have voted in. I really think if they gave 16- and 17-year-olds the education about the referendum then the result could have almost definitely gone the other way.”

“I think people seriously underestimate 16-year-olds and their capabilities. 16 is when we complete core secondary education, when we can work and contribute taxes, and take on numerous more responsibilities.”

“I'm 16. I would have loved to vote. I mean nearly all the 16 year olds I know wanted to vote for remain.”

Wallington added: “We predict the UK will return to the EU within 20 years when younger generations are of a legal age to vote and outnumber older voters. If it was down to them we would vote remain and we believe they have a right to vote and shape their own futures.”

Monday, 27 June 2016

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Paul Clarke Date: Jul 1, 2016

Sadly, those youth that did have the vote, didn't use it. Only 30% of the youngest age bracket turned up. 16-17 year olds should look to this group for an explanation...

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