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Scottish Elections (Reduction of Voting Age) Act 2015

Reduction of the voting age

5.Section 1 of the Act provides that the voting age in Scotland for local government electors is 16 years or over. It does so by amending section 2 of the 1983 Act, which sets out who is eligible to vote at local government elections. Section 11 of the Scotland Act 1998 provides that the franchise for local government elections in Scotland also applies at Scottish Parliament elections.

6.Section 1(2) specifies the dates from when the reduced voting age applies in relation to the various categories of elections to which section 2 of the 1983 Act applies. These are:

  • Scottish Parliament elections on or after 5 April 2016; (section 2 of the 1983 Act applies to these elections by virtue of section 11 of the Scotland Act 1998);

  • local government elections on or after 5 May 2016; and

  • any other relevant poll (defined in section 1(3)) on or after 5 May 2016; the main example here is elections for membership of a National Park authority, to which section 2 of the 1983 Act applies through paragraph 3 of schedule 1 to the National Parks (Scotland) Act 2000.

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Explanatory Notes

Text created by the Scottish Government to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Acts of the Scottish Parliament except those which result from Budget Bills.


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