As it currently stands, 16 and 17 year olds don’t have the right to vote in the General Election this May - but what if they could?
The British Youth Council, a national youth-led charity campaigning for votes at 16 commissioned YouGov to ask the voting intentions 17 to 24 year olds, and found some marked differences between the 16 and 17 year olds and their older peers.
Although the Labour Party led with both groups, the younger group preferred the Conservatives to the Greens or UKIP - a contrast to the views of the 18 to 24 year olds.Read More:
- Why Is The Green Party So Successful Among Youths?
- Meet The Young People Voting Tory
- The Definitive Guide On How To Register To Vote Online And Feel Awesome While Doing It
- 'All I Want For The Election Is Free Education'. What Students *Really* Want From Our Next Government
- Ed Miliband Blogs: This May, the Stakes for Britain's Young People Could Not Be Higher - Let's Make Sure Their Voice Is Heard
According to the British Youth Council, young people are far more engaged and self-taught with single-issue politics and campaigns than they are given credit for.
"When 16 and 17 year olds were trusted enough to take part in the Scottish independence referendum, they were given a special curriculum in schools to prepare for it, and engaged in the media debate as responsible young adults," a spokesperson said.
With votes at 16 being a priority of the British Youth Council, it challenges the next government to take action under the direction of a new dedicated Youth Minster, whose role would be to not only coordinate a Ministerial Youth Cabinet, but to continue to listen and engage young peoples’ voices between elections.
In response to a UK wide campaign to register and vote being led by the League of Young Voters coalition the British Youth Council will be releasing more polling data over the next few weeks to indicate the number registered to vote and whether they intend to turnout to vote.
Mita Desai, Chair of The British Youth Council told HuffPost UK: "The British Youth Council have a long history of fighting for a lower voting age, we believe that 16 and 17 year olds should be able to choose the party they want to govern our country.
“Young people do care and are mature enough to vote.”