First Steps to Devolving the Franchise: Voting Age and Fast-tracked Powers

Heather Green

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1 Citation (Scopus)


The Smith Commission recommended broad-ranging reforms that would empower the Scottish Parliament to make sweeping changes to its own electoral system and franchise laws. These have been endorsed in the White Paper’s proposals for draft legislation that would give effect to the further devolution promised in the pre-referendum “vow” made by political parties campaigning against independence. In addition, the Smith Commission called specifically for the UK Parliament to devolve power to lower the voting age to sixteen in time for the May 2016 Scottish Parliament election. Agreement was reached in December 2014 between the UK and Scottish governments to fast-track this power.4 As all five Holyrood political parties support reducing the voting age, the change is likely to pass into law without significant opposition. This note comments on this likely reform and highlights some issues with the constitutional process by which it is being made.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-244
Number of pages6
JournalEdinburgh Law Review
Issue number2
Early online dateApr 2015
Publication statusPublished - May 2015


  • Voting age
  • Fast tracked Powers
  • Smith Comission


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