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Should everyone be able to vote at 16?

04th-11th November 2022

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Total votes


5-11 votes


11-16+ votes

Voting age is a centuries old question. Indeed who should be able to vote has been the centre of protests in the UK since Parliamentary democracy was clarified. Most recently, these discussions have centred around whether the UK should lower the voting age to 16.

Some nations of the UK, Scotland and Wales, have already included 16 and 17 year olds in the franchise for their Parliament and Assembly elections, respectively. But this has not been the case for the Westminster Parliament.

It has been a focus for campaigns from the British Youth Council and more recently, the Body Shop.

In November 2022, our voters considered all of the arguments about lowering the voting age to 16. This was included as part of our celebrations of UK Parliament Week, which is an annual event to publicise the work that Parliament does and how people can get involved!

What did young people have to say?

a young child folding her arms and smiling

Primary school


" We should be able to vote at 16 because our futures are affected by these votes for a long time and at 16 we know enough.”

a teenager looking serious

Secondary school


"At 16 you can have a job and pay taxes but not vote on where those taxes get spent. Young people need to be educated about voting and politics in more detail to ensure they don't make snap decisions if allowed to vote at 16."

a teenager smiling


West Yorkshire

"Some 16 year olds are responsible enough to vote, but some are not. Education on politics would help to increase the empowerment and ability for 16 year olds to vote. It would be more useful than certain parts of Maths and English."

69% of secondary schools students said they would vote at 16 if given the opportunity.

Alongside our main VoteTopic question this week, we also asked our schools some additional questions to get a better understanding of how they feel about voting at 16.

Would you use the vote if you had it from the age of 16?

  • Almost 70% of our 11-16 year old students said they would vote if given the opportunity from age 16.
  • Over 60% of our 16+ students agreed.
58% of secondary students said they don't think 16 & 17 year olds know enough to vote on key issues.

Do you think 16 and 17 year olds know enough to vote on key issues?

  • By comparison, just 42% of 11-16 year olds felt 16 and 17 year olds knew enough to vote on key issues.
  • Similarly, 60% of 5-11 year old thought they didn't know enough about voting to do it themselves.
  • "We aren't taught enough about politics in school to form an opinion." Greater London Secondary school
a pie chart showing what young people want more of in schools.

We also asked our 11+ aged students the following question: Which of these would you like to see in schools? They had to choose one option from the list below.

1. Fewer lessons on politics in general

2. Lessons from political organisations or parties

3. Lessons providing balanced information about politics and voting

4. Visits from and discussions with politicians

over 70% of secondary students want lessons providing balanced information about politics and voting in school.

  • Over 70% of 16+ and over half of 11-16 year olds chose 'lessons providing balanced information on politics and voting'.
  • This suggests that young people feel they lack the knowledge required to vote in an informed way because they are receiving most of their political information from outside the school environment.
  • Our results show they are keen to receive a richer political education within a school setting so that they have a sufficiently balanced understanding of political issues and how voting works.
63% of 5-11 year olds believe it is unfair that different parts of the UK have different voting ages.

Is it fair that different parts of the UK have different voting ages?

  • 63% of 5-11 year olds believed it was unfair that different parts of the UK have different voting ages.
  • In Wales and Scotland, 16 and 17 year olds already have the right to vote in local elections.
  • 5-11 year olds were most interested in voting on issues relating to the environment and education.

Overall results

doughnut results for this week's results.

Where do we go from here?

Education, education, education. Over 45,000 young people voted on this topic and many more were involved in discussions and debates about lowering the voting age to 16 in their classrooms. They have shown a great desire to be educated in more depth and in an impartial manner in schools following concerns that they are currently learning about politics through potentially unreliable social media posts and their parent's personal views.

Our Secondary and College vote didn't have a landslide result, however more students voted 'No' to the question "Should everyone be able to vote at 16?". Their comments, along with the results from our additional questions this week suggests that they are not confident in their current understanding of political issues. Ultimately, this shows that the next step for schools is to ensure that they have a comprehensive and balanced political education included in their curriculums.