For Scottish elections, the voting age was reduced to 16 years old (2015). After a unanimous vote in the Scottish Parliament, the voting age for Scottish local elections and Scottish Parliament elections was dropped to 16 in 2015. This was implemented for the first time at the Scottish Parliament election in 2016. Previously, those aged 18 or over could vote in these elections, except in Northern Ireland, where people had to be 21.
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, those who are 17 by the first day of the month following an election are also permitted to vote. In Scotland, those who are 16 by the first day of the month following an election can also vote. Those who turn 18 during an election year can still vote provided they have been registered to do so. It is an offence to falsely claim eligibility to vote.
In Australia, Canada, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom, voters must be at least 17 years old. However, some countries with low youth unemployment rates allow people as young as 15 to vote in general elections. These include Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Israel, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Uruguay.
In addition, British citizens living abroad can register to vote in UK elections. They must be resident in another country of the European Union but not working there.
There were 78,400 young people aged 16 or 17 registered to vote in Scottish Parliament and local government elections on December 1, 2018, accounting for 1.9 percent of the overall electorate. This represents a 5,200 (6.2 percent) reduction over the previous year. The fall was mainly due to a decrease among younger voters.
Among those aged 18 to 24, there was an increase of more than 10,000 registrations, with youth turnout rising from 68.5 to 79.5 percent. Among those aged 25 to 29, there was also an increase, with registration numbers up by 8,500 and turnout up from 77.8 to 85.1 percent. However, among those aged 30 to 34, there was a decrease of more than 6,000 registrations and a drop in turnout from 84.4 to 76.7 percent.
Among those aged 35 to 39, there was also a decrease, with registration numbers down by 4,500 and turnout down from 81.3 to 75.9 percent. However, among those aged 40 to 44, there was an increase of more than 7,000 registrations and a rise in youth participation rates from 73.7 to 80.4 percent.
Among those aged 45 to 49, there was also an increase, with registration numbers up by 3,600 and turnout up from 74.9 to 80.5 percent.
Throughout the United Kingdom The Representation of the People Act 1969 reduced the voting age from 21 to 18 with effect from 1970, and it stayed in effect until the Scottish Independence Referendum Act 2013, which permitted 16-year-olds to vote for the first time, albeit only in Scotland and only in that referendum.
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, there is no upper limit on how old you can be when you vote. But to be eligible to run for public office, you need to be at least 17 years old. And all parliamentary candidates are required by law to be aged at least 21.
In Scotland, the maximum age you can be when you vote is 16, but this year the government has introduced some changes to the act so that young people under 18 can now vote in general elections. Previously, they could only vote in referendums or elections for the Scottish Parliament.
The legislation permitting younger voters was intended to increase participation in the 2014 and 2016 elections. However, critics say that 16- and 17-year-olds cannot make an informed choice about who to vote for and argue that allowing them to decide political issues that affect them every day is unfair.
In response to these concerns, the government has announced that it will introduce further measures to protect young people's rights to vote and express themselves politically.
A eligibility to vote You can vote when you're 18 years old in England and Northern Ireland. 16 years old in Scottish Parliament and local elections (and other elections when you're 18).
If you turn 18 before an election, you can still vote. But you cannot change your registration once you've voted.
Those who have served in the military are given an exemption from voting. This is to allow them to devote their full attention to serving their country. However, if they want to resume normal life after being deployed abroad, they will need to register to vote again.
Those who have been registered to vote but not turned up at a general election can be fined or imprisoned. The same applies if you fail to register as a candidate within 28 days of being elected as an MP.
In Scotland, those aged 17-18 can apply for a postal vote. These votes are then sent out by post and it's these votes that determine how many MPs each party gets.
In Northern Ireland, those aged 18-20 can apply for a vote. These votes are also called "adult ballots". They must be returned by post or in person. Those over 20 can only vote in certain specific circumstances such as illness, injury or social work commitments.
The voting age was decreased to 18 in 1972 by the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. British people got the right to vote in Dail elections in 1985, reciprocating the right of Irish nationals to vote in UK elections under the Ireland Act 1949.
In general elections, people can vote if they are citizens of the country or have lived in it for a certain period of time (usually 15 years). The only exception is those who are still in prison or asylum detention. Citizens must be resident in an electoral district in order to vote in that district's primary election. If they move away then they can apply to have their name removed from the register so they do not get notified when elections are held near them.
People who are temporarily outside Ireland can vote in parliamentary elections if they intend to return before the end of the term of office (five years) or in local elections if they intend to live in Ireland permanently after the election (or at any time during the five-year term).
In referendums questions are put to the public on issues before them. Voters give their opinion by either casting a ballot in person or by sending a proxy - usually their elected representative. Proxies need to be signed by the voter giving their permission for their representative to vote on their behalf.