By: Julia Paine
On Sept. 18, 2014, teens in Scotland were given the chance to vote for Scotland’s independence from the United Kingdom. The voting age started at 16, which was estimated to be around 120,000 votes. Pro-independence groups hoped that lowering the age limit would help increase the chances for Scotland to win its freedom.
In Scotland, even at the age of 16, teens can join the military, marry, work, and pay taxes. So, it only seemed natural to let 16 year old have the right to vote when it comes to their country’s independence.
USAToday on Sept.18, 2014 ran the article “16-,17-years-olds get to vote on Scottish independence.” It stated, “There’s to be an expected split in the voting,” but the age decrease is still being debated across Scotland.
“Scotland should be free because I think that’s what’s going to make Scotland great,” said a teen in the Scotland Telegraph.
Some students at Attleboro High School were not in favor of 16 years olds voting. “16 years old shouldn’t be able to vote because they are not mature enough for that responsibility,” said senior Ben Wagner.
“I don’t feel that 16 years old will take the responsibility of voting seriously,” said senior Tiffany Tong.
“I don’t believe it would be smart to allow 16 year olds to vote because it’s such a young age and many don’t yet know about major politics,” said junior David Neary.
“16 year olds are too immature to have the responsibility to vote,” said senior Amy Tundel.
“Maybe 16 year olds could vote if they were tested on the information in the campaigns so then one can tell if they know about the voting at all,” said senior Brittany Dixon.
“Yes, I do believe 16 year olds should have the right to vote on serious topics in our country,” said senior Sarah Williams.
In 2013, Scotland signed a referendum that would allow their independence to be put to a vote. Their polling places showed similar trends. Iposos Mori reported 49 percent of the votes said “yes” and 51 percent said “no” to leaving the Union. YouGov reported 48 percent said “yes” and 52 percent answered “no.” Survation reported “yes” for 47 percent and “no” for 53 percent.
The closeness of the vote at different polls “shocked” the Scots according to USAToday. The final vote was a defeat for independence. 115,000 votes were from teens. One statistic showed that the majority of women voted “no” while the majority of older men voted “yes” to leaving the Union.
The uncertainty of an increase in the homeless and financial assistance from a new government concerned many women. Older men hoped that the next generation might have had better success if Scotland moved away from the Union.
The main reason pro-independence didn’t win was that the United Kingdom (UK) “offered to grant Scotland more rights in the Union such as overseeing health-care and education,” stated the British Broadcasting Company (BBC).
Scotland is staying in the Union for now but maybe in the years to come there will be another referendum.