VICTORIA, B.C. – B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver introduced a Private Member’s bill in the BC Legislature that would lower B.C.’s voting age to 16 years old.
This is Weaver’s third attempt to introduce the bill, which he said was in response to Elections B.C.’s announcement on Monday that only 56.24 percent of residents between the ages of 18 and 24 voted in the provincial election last May. Only 46.35 percent of voters aged 25-35 cast ballots in that election.
Weaver pointed out in a statement today that 16 year-olds in Scotland, Argentina, Austria and Brazil are allowed to vote, and cited evidence from those countries that enfranchising young voters has led to higher levels of voter turnout since the voting age was lowered.
“Young British Columbians have the greatest stake in the future of our province; they should have a say in the decisions our politicians make,” said Weaver. “Moreover, research shows that the cognitive skills required to make calm, logically informed decisions are firmly in place by age 16. Young citizens of British Columbia are old enough to drive, pay taxes and sign up for the military. They are also the leaders of tomorrow. They should have a say in the direction we are heading, as they will inherit what we leave behind. B.C. should take this chance to strengthen our democracy and lower the voting age to 16.”