Young peo­ple aged 16 and 17 years have been allowed to vote in Scot­tish and local elec­tions for sev­er­al years now. In 2014 Scot­tish 16- and 17- year-olds were includ­ed in the fran­chise for Scotland’s ref­er­en­dum on inde­pen­dence first, and short­ly after for all Scot­tish elec­tions. Since then, 16- and 17-year-olds have been allowed to vote in the 2016 and 2021 Scot­tish Par­lia­ment elec­tions and the 2017 Scot­tish local coun­cil elec­tions, but not in UK-wide elec­tions for which the fran­chise remains a mat­ter reserved to the UK par­lia­ment at West­min­ster. This report seeks to explore the longer-term out­comes of Votes-at-16 for young peo­ple who ben­e­fit­ed from the reform of the fran­chise in Scotland.

Using orig­i­nal sur­vey data col­lect­ed among young peo­ple in Scot­land in the con­text of the 2021 Scot­tish Par­lia­ment elec­tions, this report exam­ines how dif­fer­ent cohorts of young peo­ple aged between 16 to 31 years engage in pol­i­tics. The analy­sis dis­tin­guish­es those who were first enfran­chised at age 16 or 17 from those who were aged 18 years or old­er when they were allowed to vote for the first time.