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Legal voting age should be lowered to 16

As a long-time supporter for the voting age to be lowered to 16 I am delighted to hear the announcement that young people will have the vote in the Scottish Independence referendum.

Let's make this the first step in ensuring the vote goes to all 16- and 17-year-olds in all elections. Young people are the future in any society nation and we have a duty in trying to involve both young and old in active participation in a shared future.

Over 1.5 million 16- and 17-year-olds are currently denied the vote in the United Kingdom. In the wake of last year's student grants/public sector protests and the anarchy from the rioting and looting in English cities the time has come to re-examine the case for votes at 16.

Stopping 16- and 17-year-olds from voting and having the chance to be heard sends a signal to them and to society, especially politicians, that their views aren't valid and that they aren't real citizens. At a time when too many people feel that politics isn't relevant to them, young people need to be encouraged to take part in democracy, not kept out from it.

George R Bell

Visiting Lecturer

London South Bank University

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