Letter: Teenage vote-lose

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The Independent Culture
Sir: I was astounded to read your article regarding the possibility of teenagers being enfranchised at the age of 16 ("Vote at 16 to be considered by Ministers", 31 December).

Although at this age one is legally entitled to leave school, get married, have a child and die for one's country, one still needs parental consent to marry - thus proving that one is still not altogether autonomous. I am sure that there must be many more 16- than 18- year-olds who still live at home and rely on their parents' financial support. I think that these two vital years do make an immense difference in developing one's opinions and ideas.

If adolescents were granted the right to vote at 16 the vast majority might do so, but not necessarily for the right reasons. The bulk of 16- year-olds haven't a clue what they really want from a government and therefore would just vote as their parents do. Others might cast their vote in the opposite direction merely to be antagonistic. Many teenagers would say that it didn't matter who they voted for, as it was simply one vote. As there are 1.5 million 16- and 17-year-olds this could make a considerable difference to the outcome of an election.

I also cannot fully comprehend why the Government has been considering changing the legislation as there has been no apparent demand from teenagers.

Despite the fact that I am 13 and have very definite views on many subjects, I would prefer to wait until I am 18 and will be more mature and the issues will have more relevance to me.

CHARLOTE CASSIS

London SW11

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