Moray SNP News
Moray’s MP Angus Robertson has today marked UN International Youth Day today by calling on young people aged 15 and over to register to vote ahead of next year’s Scottish Parliament elections. This reflects this year’s International Youth Day theme of ‘Youth Civic Engagement’.
Local MP Mr Robertson was, himself, Scotland’s youngest MP when he was first elected in 2001. In his maiden speech in parliament at that time he raised the issue of lowering the voting age saying:
“....as the youngest Member of the House who represents a Scottish constituency, I am convinced that one change might help to engender an interest in voting among young people: lowering the voting age to 16.”
The 2016 election will be the first general election where 16 and 17 year olds will have the right to vote following the unanimous passage of the Scottish Elections (Reduction of Voting Age) Bill in June this year. Last week the Electoral Commission launched a campaign to maximise voter registration amongst young people who will be 16 by the time of the election.
Commenting, Angus Robertson MP said:
“This year's International Youth Day comes just after Scotland became only the second country after Austria in the EU to lower the voting age to 16 for national elections. Votes for 16 and 17 year olds has been a long standing SNP policy - one that was delivered during last year’s referendum where the the questions posed by 16 and 17 year olds and the debates they took part in were among some of the best contributions on both sides of the campaign.
“In 2001 in my first parliamentary speech as Moray’s MP I urged the House of Commons to consider lowering the voting age to 16 in a debate about European representation. I strongly made the point that 16 and 17-year-olds are judged old enough to work and pay tax, get married or die for their country, but are not granted the equality of being able to vote. That message is no different now than it was then.
“I am absolutely delighted that young people aged 16 and 17 can now express their opinion at the ballot box in the Scottish Parliament elections and I will continue to campaign to extend that to all elections.
“My message to young people in Moray is that your opinion matters and you can make that opinion heard through your vote by influencing who will govern Scotland.
“Registering to vote is easy and will only take 5 minutes – just go to gov.uk/register-to-vote. I would encourage all people over 15 to register to vote and to get involved.”
Details for UN International Youth Day can be found here:http://www.unesco.org/new/en/unesco/events/prizes-and-celebrations/celebrations/international-days/international-youth-day/