020 7250 8377 votesat16@byc.org.uk

The Votes at 16 coalition campaigns for 16 and 17 year olds to be able to vote in all UK public elections.

Launched in 2003, the coalition is made up of young people, organisations and politicians who believe the voting age should be lowered to 16.

Membership of the Coalition is open to any organisation who shares this aim – please contact us on votesat16@byc.org.uk or 0207 250 8374 if your organisation wants to join.

Steering group


The votes at 16 Coalition is led by a smaller group of organisations that meet regularly to plan and develop the campaign.

The Steering Group is open to any member of the Votes at 16 Coalition that is willing and able to devote more time and resources to the campaign. The group is currently chaired by the British Youth Council.

The British Youth Council (BYC), as the national youth council of the UK, connects with our member organisations and networks of local youth councils, to empower young people aged 25 and under, wherever they are from, to have a say and be heard. Our training, volunteering and campaigning inspires us to speak out and get involved.

Votes at 16 is a priority campaign for BYC. We believe that 16 and 17 year olds should be given the vote in all public elections in the UK. At 16 we are mature enough to engage in, and contribute to, our democracy through having the vote. When we turn 16 we should be able to translate our interest in political issues, knowledge and experience into practical action at the ballot box.

The Children’s Rights Alliance for England (CRAE) is the country’s leading human rights organisation for children and young people.

We lobby government and others who hold power; use the law to bring about change; and submit children’s rights reports to the United Nations and other international and European human rights monitoring bodies.

We provide free legal information and advice and publish an annual review of the state of children’s rights in England.

CRAE campaigns for Votes at 16 because voting is a fundamental human right. 16 and 17 year-olds can give full legal consent to medical treatment, get jobs, pay income tax and National Insurance, get married and enter civil partnerships as well as set up and manage companies. We join forces with young people all over the country who are fighting this injustice.

NUS (National Union of Students) is a voluntary membership organisation which makes a real difference to the lives of students and its member students’ unions. We are a confederation of 600 students’ unions, amounting to more than 95 per cent of all higher and further education unions in the UK. Through our member students’ unions, we represent the interests of more than seven million students.

Run by student officers elected by our members, NUS is the largest student organisation in the world. We campaign, provide research, representation, discounts, training and expert advice for individual students and students’ unions. Each year we train over 3,000 students’ union officers.

NUS fights barriers to education, empowers students to shape both a quality learning experience and the world around them, and supports influential, democratic and well-resourced students’ unions.

SYP LogoThe Scottish Youth Parliament represents Scotland’s young people. Our vision is of a stronger, more inclusive, Scotland that empowers young people by truly involving them in the decision-making process.

For us, Votes at 16 is an issue of fairness. In Scotland 16 and 17 year-olds can sign up for the armed forces while not having the right to have their say at the ballot box on defence policy. They can leave school, get a job and be taxed without being represented at Westminster or Holyrood. The SYP firmly believes it’s a real injustice that under 18s are considered mature and responsible enough to get married or drive a car, but not mature and responsible enough to choose who they want to represent their communities.