Teens as young as 16 set to get vote in coun­cil elec­tions

Bangor Mail - - NEWS -

SIX­TEEN and 17-yearolds in Wales will be given the right to vote in coun­cil elec­tions un­der plans an­nounced by the Welsh Labour Gov­ern­ment.

Cab­i­net Sec­re­tary for lo­cal gov­ern­ment Alun Davies said the pro­pos­als were de­signed to boost par­tic­i­pa­tion as he was con­cerned that young peo­ple were be­ing “dis­en­gaged” from the po­lit­i­cal process.

Labour’s na­tional party seized on the plans to urge the To­ries to give 16 and 17-year-olds the right to vote in UK gen­eral elec­tions, ar­gu­ing that the rules which only al­low those aged 18 and over to par­tic­i­pate were “in­con­sis­tent and un­sus­tain­able”.

Shadow Voter En­gage­ment Min­is­ter Cat Smith said: “The Welsh Labour Gov­ern­ment is lead­ing the way by giv­ing 16 and 17-year-olds the right to vote in lo­cal elec­tions in Wales.

“How­ever, we are now in an in­con­sis­tent and un­sus­tain­able po­si­tion where a 16-year-old liv­ing in Wales and Scot­land can vote in lo­cal elec­tions, yet they are de­nied the right to vote in UK gen­eral elec­tions. “The Con­ser­va­tive Party is quickly find­ing them­selves on t the wrong side o of his­tory, while Labour is yet again show­ing that they are the p party of the m many.

“The time has now come for the UK G Gov­ern­ment to ex­tend the fran­chise to all 16 and 17-year-olds, and en­sure equal vot­ing rights across the United King­dom.”

Mr Davies said: “I am con­cerned we are still see­ing far too many peo­ple, par­tic­u­larly young peo­ple, dis­en­gaged from the po­lit­i­cal process.

“There are many rea­sons for this.

“But we must do more to make the process more at­trac­tive, wel­com­ing and trans­par­ent.”

The pro­pos­als to ex­tend vot­ing rights were due to be for­mally an­nounced this week.

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