Ed Miliband has pledged that if elected, 16 and 17 year olds will be eligible to vote in UK elections from 2016. This would expand the current voting pool by 1.5 million people.
The pressure to extend the franchise to younger people has been encouraged by voter engagement group Bite the Ballot in particular, and more general calls following the decision to allow 16 and 17 year olds to vote in the Scottish independence referendum.
Miliband’s arguments is that policies and decisions that impact young people should be made with the consent of young people, and that their input should be reflected in our voting system. Miliband would also pressure colleges and schools to improve the turnout of young people, by encouraging registration of students in blocks such as year groups or classes.
This stance comes at a crucial time in the run-up to the elections, particularly following attacks on Miliband’s leadership. PPE and HSPS students would do well to keep aware of the twists and turns of the upcoming elections, from large-scale legal implementations like this, to the recent gaffe of MP Nigel Mills playing Candy Crush during a Commons committee hearing.