Carmarthenshire County Council has supported a national campaign to lower the voting age to 16.
Councillors considered a notice of motion put to them at full council – the first time such a motion had been initiated by a young person.
Carmarthenshire UK Youth Parliament (UKYP) Elected Representative, Gwen Griffiths from Pembrey, has been involved in the year-long Votes@16 campaign to raise awareness and try and get support to give 16 and 17-year-olds the right to vote in public elections.
On behalf of Gwen and her colleagues at Carmarthenshire Youth Council (CYC), Cllr Glynog Davies, executive board member for education and children’s services, submitted a Notice of Motion to full council in December asking councillors to consider that the members support CYC’s campaign to see the voting age reduced from 18 to 16 years of age for all public elections. At the meeting it was resolved that the Notice of Motion be supported.
Gwen joined almost 300 elected members of UKYP in launching the campaign, which followed a national debate on votes@16 that Gwen attended in the House of Commons.
The 17-year-old said: “I’m really happy to see that the hard and dedicated work of the CYC has paid off and the motion has passed through with support from Carmarthenshire County Council. It was a really good experience meeting with local decision makers to raise awareness of such an important issue and seeing how much support the campaign is gaining.”
The vote at full council was one part of the Votes@16 campaign led by Gwen in Carmarthenshire. As part of the National Day of Action, Gwen and her team met with politicians who were invited to join the campaign in support of lowering the voting age to 16.
Gwen has also been busy gathering the views and opinions of young people on the campaign working with CYC Secondary School Council representatives to organise debates on votes@16 within their school and has developed a social media campaign to encourage more young people to get involved.
Cllr Glynog Davies, executive board member for education and children’s services, said: “I fully endorse the wishes of our county’s youth council. I firmly believe that 16 and 17-year-olds are capable of making informed decisions.”
• You can keep up with the work CYC is doing for the UKYP campaign for Votes at 16 by following @Youth_Sirgar on Twitter and Youthsirgar on Facebook.
• You can also follow the UK Youth Parliament on Twitter @UKYP or get involved in the conversation online using #votesat16