Votes at 16 should be extended here, says Donnelly

Votes for 16 and 17-year-olds should be extended to Northern Ireland, Alliance West Tyrone Westminster candidate Stephen Donnelly has said.

Mr Donnelly said local elections could follow the example of Scotland, which lowered its voting age to 16 for the independence referendum and local government elections in 2014, or Wales, which recently said the change would be in place for local elections in 2022.

He said young people in Northern Ireland also deserved the right to participate in the democratic process.

“Young people at 16 and 17 are old enough to work, join the armed forces and pay taxes. Therefore, it follows they have should have a right to say how those taxes are spent and who makes those other key decisions. If you pay taxes, you deserve representation.

“By reducing the voting age to 16 we can also encourage more young people to take an interest in politics and get involved in the democratic process while still in education. Giving a new generation a voice can only be a benefit to local politics.

“We must take this opportunity to show young people they are equal citizens, with respected opinions. Many of the decisions taken by elected representatives will shape the rest of their lives, so it is only fair they have a say in them.”

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