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Welsh Liberal Democrats

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Welsh Liberal Democrats support votes for 16

July 4, 2012 3:46 PM

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have today reiterated their calls for the voting age to be lowered to 16.

A debate is being held by Assembly Members on lowering the voting age to 16 in Welsh elections. It has been tabled with cross-party support from the main parties, and youth leaders have welcomed the debate.

Aled Roberts AM, who is co-tabling the debate today, commented:

"Once a person reaches the age of 16, they have the ability to make life changing decisions such as whether to get married, start a family, join the armed forces, give full medical consent, and they can start paying tax. For me, it is fundamental that if a person is considered old enough to die for their country and pay towards our tax system, then that person should be considered old enough to be able to vote.

"We all know that voter turnout is declining, with many people feeling disengaged from the political system. I believe that lowering the voting age can play a part in tackling this disenchantment. If a person is feeling excluded from the system early on, then they can get into the habit of not voting for the rest of their lives. I see no reason why age should act as a barrier to those with a genuine interest in the way our country is run.

"Whilst I accept that this is currently a matter for the UK Parliament, I believe the fact that this motion has attracted cross-party support is an important indicator of opinion within the National Assembly."

Guto Davies, chair of Funky Dragon, the children and young people's assembly for Wales, who travelled down to the Assembly today to support the debate, said:

"If we are part of society, if we have a right to our say and if we are allowed to do what we do, let's do the right thing - give the right to vote at 16."