Voting age


Voting age

A voting age is a minimum age established by law that a person must attain in order to be eligible to vote in a public election.

The vast majority of countries in the world have established a voting age. Most governments consider that those of an age lower than the chosen threshold lack the necessary capacity to independently decide how to cast a vote. The voting age is often of such importance that it is set by means of a constitutional provision.

At the present time the voting age across the world is typically 18. When the right to vote was first accorded in democracies the voting age was generally set at 21, or in some cases at an even higher level. In the 1970s widespread reform led to a reduction to 18 in a large number of countries. Debate is currently underway in many places on proposals to reduce the voting age below 18.

History

The reduction to 18

During the 20th century a large number of countries reduced the voting age from 21, with most lowering it to 18. The majority of these reductions were immediate, but in some cases a final reduction to 18 was preceded by one to a higher age (eg. 20). Exceptions to the voting age were also provided for in some countries on the basis of service given in conflicts such as the First and Second World Wars.

Czechoslovakia was early to act, reducing its age to 18 in 1946, and by 1968 a total of 17 states had made the reduction. [http://www.djs.state.md.us/megafile/msa/speccol/sc2900/sc2908/000001/000138/html/am138--51.html "Lowering the Minimum Voting Age to Eighteen Years - Pro and Con Arguments"] , Constitutional Revision Study Documents of the Maryland Constitutional Convention Commission, 1968. Retrieved on 5 February 2007.] A large number of countries, particularly in Western Europe, reduced their voting ages to 18 during the 1970s. The United Kingdom was the first such country to do so, in 1970. It led a swift and widespread sweep of the world's leading democracies, with countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia and France following soon afterwards. By the end of the 20th century 18 had become by far the most common age at which citizens acquired the right to vote. There were however some countries, particularly those in Scandinavia, which maintained voting ages higher than 21.

Consideration of a reduction to 18 continued into the late 20th and early 21st century in those countries that had not already made the change. Reductions were seen in India, Switzerland, Austria and Morocco during this time. Since 2007, debate has been taking place in Japan, [cite news
first = Hiroko
last = Nakata
title = Panel mulls lowering voting age to 18
url = http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20070518a4.html
publisher = The Japan Times
date = 2007-05-18
accessdate = 2007-07-06
] and a dispute is continuing in the Maldives. [cite news
first = A.S.I.
last = Moosa
title = The murderous dictator and the 'Bullet-Ballot' propaganda
url = http://www.dhivehiobserver.com/editorial/Bullet_in_Maldives_010420071182847821.htm
publisher = Dhivehi Observer
date = 2007-04-01
accessdate = 2007-07-06
] A reduction is probable to happen in 2008 in Lebanon as part of the new electoral law.

Further reductions

was the first state to make such a reduction, in 1995, and four other states later copied the move.

In the 2000s a number of legislative proposals for reductions of the voting age to 16 were made in various U.S. states, including California, Florida and Alaska, [ [http://youthrights.org/votestatus.php Worldwide Efforts to Lower the Voting Age] , National Youth Rights Association] but ultimately none were successful. Proposals were made in 2005 for a national reduction in Canada [Parliament of Canada, Bill C-261 (2005); [http://vote16.ca/en/index.htm Vote16, Canada] ] and a state reduction in New South Wales, Australia, [Parliament of New South Wales, Parliamentary Electorates and Elections Amendment (Voting Age) Bill (2005); Hansard, 14 September 2005, [http://parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/PARLMENT/hansArt.nsf/V3Key/LC20050914041 p. 17686] .] but again there was no success.

Austria

In 2007 Austria became the first member of the European Union, and the first of the world's leading democracies, to adopt a voting age of 16 for all purposes. The voting age had been reduced in Austria from 19 to 18 at all levels in 1992. At that time a voting age of 16 was proposed by the Green Party, but was not adopted.

The voting age for municipal elections in some states was lowered to 16 in the early 2000s. [http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/files/dms/AEM_10002-8073__E__N__S__W__.pdf "How old is old enough?" - the minimum age of voting and candidacy in UK elections: consultation paper] , July 2003, UK Electoral Commission, para. 3.6.] Three states had made the reduction by 2003 (Burgenland, Carinthia and Styria), and in May 2003 Vienna became the fourth. [ [http://www.votesat16.org.uk/news/000030.html "Austria joins the votes at 16 club"] , Votes at 16. Retrieved on 6 June 2007.] Salzburg followed suit, [http://www.jugendvertretung.at/content/site/home/english/article/928.html "Lowering the Electoral Age"] , Austrian National Youth Council. Retrieved on 6 June 2007.] [http://www.demokratiezentrum.org/en/cms/topics/democracy_debates/elections/index.html "Elections"] , Demokratiezentrum Wien. Retrieved on 6 June 2007.] and so by the start of 2005 the total had reached at least five states out of nine. [http://www.unhchr.ch/huricane/huricane.nsf/view01/9E8D42171C86FEE9C1256F8900731350?opendocument "Committee on Rights of Child Considers Second Periodic Report of Austria"] , UNHCHR, 14 January 2005.] As a consequence of state law, reduction of the municipal voting age in the states of Burgenland, Salzburg and Vienna resulted in the reduction of the regional voting age in those states as well.

Following the legislative election in 2006, the winning SPÖ-ÖVP coalition announced on 12 January 2007 that one of its policies would be the reduction of the voting age to 16 for elections in all states and at all levels in Austria.cite news
last = Oleksyn
first = Veronika
title = Austrians split on voting at age 16 plan
publisher = AP/washingtonpost.com
date = 2007-01-12
url = http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/12/AR2007011202410.html
accessdate = 2007-02-02
] The policy was set in motion by a Government announcement on 14 March,cite news
title = Austria lowers voting age
publisher = IOL, South Africa
date = 2007-03-14
url = http://www.int.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=3&art_id=nw20070314154425183C442915
accessdate = 2007-03-30
] and a bill proposing an amendment to the Constitution was presented to the legislature on 2 May.cite news
title = Austria lowers voting age to 16
publisher = News 24, South Africa
date = 2007-05-03
url = http://www.news24.com/News24/World/News/0,,2-10-1462_2107576,00.html
accessdate = 2007-05-06
] [ [http://www.parlinkom.gv.at/portal/page?_pageid=908,4792751&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL 94 d.B. (XXIII. GP) Bundesverfassungsgesetz, mit dem das Bundes-Verfassungsgesetz geändert wird] , Republik Österreich Parlament (German).] On 5 June the National Council approved the proposal following a recommendation to do so from its Constitution Committee. [http://www.parlinkom.gv.at/portal/page?_pageid=908,5450640&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL Wählen mit 16, Briefwahl, fünfjährige Gesetzgebungsperiode kommen] , Republik Österreich Parlament (German). Retrieved on 6 June 2007.] [ [http://www.parlinkom.gv.at/portal/page?_pageid=908,5234640&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL Verfassungsausschuss gibt grünes Licht für Wahlrechtsreform] , Republik Österreich Parlament (German). Retrieved on 25 May 2007.] cite news
title = Austria lowers voting age to 16
publisher = EUX.tv — the Europe Channel, The Netherlands
date = 2007-06-05
url = http://www.eux.tv/article.aspx?articleId=9251
accessdate = 2007-06-06
] During the passage of the bill through the chamber relatively little opposition was raised to the reduction, with four out of five parties explicitly supporting it; indeed, there was some dispute over which party had been the first to suggest the idea. Greater controversy surrounded the other provisions of the bill concerning the "Briefwahl", or postal vote, and the extension of the legislative period for the National Council from four to five years. A further uncontroversial inclusion was a reduction in the candidacy age from 19 to 18. The Federal Council approved the Bill on 21 June, with no party voting against it. [ [http://www.parlinkom.gv.at/portal/page?_pageid=908,5818640&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL Wahlrechtsreform 2007 passiert den Bundesrat] , Republik Österreich Parlament (German). Retrieved on 30 June 2007.] The voting age was reduced when the Bill's provisions came into force on 1 July 2007. [http://66.249.91.104/translate_c?hl=en&u=http://www.parlinkom.gv.at/pls/portal/docs/page/PG/DE/XXIII/I/I_00129/FNAMEORIG_079516.HTML 31/BNR (XXIII. GP) Bundes-Verfassungsgesetz] , ss. 1, 5 and 25, Republik Österreich Parlament (German). Retrieved on 1 July 2007.] Austria thus became the first member of the European Union, and the first of the world's leading democracies, to adopt a voting age of 16 for all purposes.

United Kingdom

A reduction of the voting age to 16 in the United Kingdom was first given serious consideration on 15 December 1999, when the House of Commons considered in Committee an amendment proposed by Simon Hughes to the "Representation of the People Bill". [ [http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm199900/cmhansrd/vo991215/debtext/91215-14.htm#91215-14_time0 HC Deb, 15 Dec 1999, Vol. 341, cc. 305-338.] Retrieved on 3 November 2007.] This represented the first occasion that the question of a voting age lower than 18 had ever been put to a vote in the Commons. [Ibid, at c. 336.] The Government opposed the amendment, and it was defeated by 434 votes to 36. [Ibid, at c. 336.]

The Votes at 16 coalition, a group of political and charitable organisations supporting a reduction of the voting age to 16, was launched on 29 January 2003. [cite news
title = 'A real chance to improve British Politics' - Votes at 16 Campaign Launches
publisher = Votes at 16
date = 2003-01-29
url = http://www.votesat16.org.uk/news/000005/a_real_chance_to_improve_british_politics__votes_at_16_campaign_launches.html
accessdate = 2007-11-03
] At this time a Private Member's Bill was also proposed in the House of Lords by Lord Lucas, and received a Second Reading on 9 January. [The [http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200203/ldbills/010/2003010.htm Voting Age (Reduction to 16) Bill (HL)] .]

In 2004 the Electoral Commission conducted a major consultation on the subject of the voting and candidacy ages, and received a significant response. In its conclusions it recommended that the voting age remain at 18. [ [http://www.bibliotheque.assnat.qc.ca/01/mono/2005/10/826116.pdf "Age of Electoral Majority"] , Electoral Commission, 19 April 2004, para. 8.16] On 29 November 2005 the House of Commons voted 136-128 (on a free vote) against a Bill for a reduction in the voting age to 16 proposed by Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Williams. Parliament chose not to include a provision reducing the voting age in the Electoral Administration Act during its passage in 2006.

On 27 February 2006 the report of the Power Inquiry called for a reduction of the voting age, and of the candidacy age for the House of Commons, to 16. [cite news
title = Political system faces 'meltdown'
publisher = BBC News
date = 2006-02-27
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4753876.stm
accessdate = 2007-11-03
] On the same day the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, indicated in an article in The Guardian that he favoured a reduction provided it was made concurrently with effective citizenship education. [cite news
title = And so does Gordon Brown
publisher = Votes at 16
date = 2006-02-27
url = http://www.votesat16.org.uk/news/000134/and_so_does_gordon_brown.html
accessdate = 2007-11-03
]

The Ministry of Justice published on 3 July 2007 a Green Paper entitled "The Governance of Britain", in which it proposed the establishment of a "Youth Citizenship Commission". [ [http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/cm71/7170/7170.pdf "The Governance of Britain"] , UK Ministry of Justice, 3 July 2007, para. 190. Retrieved on 5 July 2007.] The Commission would, amongst other things, be tasked with examining the case for lowering the voting age. On launching the Paper the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, said in the House of Commons: "Although the voting age has been 18 since 1969, it is right, as part of that debate, to examine, and hear from young people themselves, whether lowering that age would increase participation." [ [http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmhansrd/cm070703/debtext/70703-0004.htm HC Deb, 3 Jul 2007, Vol. 462, c. 819.] Retrieved on 5 July 2007.]

The Scottish National Party's conference voted unanimously on 27 October 2007 for a policy of reducing the voting age to 16, as well as in favour of a campaign for the necessary power to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament. [cite news
title = 'Vote at 16' move backed by SNP
publisher = BBC News
date = 2007-10-27
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/7065046.stm
accessdate = 2007-11-03
]

United States

Nineteen United States permit 17-year-olds to vote in primary elections and caucuses if they will be 18 years of age, by election day. An amendment to the state constitution is being considered in the Illinois legislature that would lower its voting age to 17 for non-federal elections, though states can set their voting age to lower than eighteen for federal elections as well. Because it only applies to state elections, seventeen-year-olds would not be able to vote in primaries and general elections for representatives, senators, and President of the United States even if the amendment passes the legislature and referendum. [http://news.deviantart.com/article/43380/]

To pass, sixty percent of each house of the state legislature would have to approve it, and it would then have to be approved over half of by voters in the November general election. [http://cbs2chicago.com/politics/illinois.voting.age.2.663554.html]

Crown dependencies

Moves to lower the voting age to 16 were successful in each of the three British Crown dependencies from 2006 to 2008. The Isle of Man was the first to amend its law, when in July 2006 it reduced the voting age to 16 for its general elections, with the House of Keys approving the move by 19 votes to 4. [cite news
title = Teenagers vote in Manx election
publisher = BBC News
date = 2006-07-13
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/isle_of_man/5175426.stm
accessdate = 2007-05-09
]

Jersey followed suit on 4 July 2007, when it approved in principle a reduction of the voting age to 16. The States of Jersey voted narrowly in favour, by 25 votes to 21, [ [http://www.statesassembly.gov.je/view_vote.asp?id_number=577 Vote P63/2007] , States of Jersey, 4 July 2007. Retrieved on 6 July 2007.] and the legislative amendments were adopted on 26 September. [ [http://www.statesassembly.gov.je/documents/minutes/8199-16502-4102007.htm States of Jersey Minutes] , 26 September 2007. Retrieved on 24 October 2007.] The law was sanctioned by Order-in-Council on 12 December, [http://www.privycouncil.gov.uk/files/word/List%20December%202007.doc ORDERS APPROVED AT THE PRIVY COUNCIL HELD BY THE QUEEN AT BUCKINGHAM PALACE ON 12 DECEMBER 2007] , Privy Council Office, 20 December 2007. Retrieved on 15 January 2008.] [http://www.jerseylegalinfo.je/Law/display.aspx?url=lawsinforce%5chtm%5cLawFiles%5c2008%2fL-01-2008.htm Public Elections (Amendment No. 2) (Jersey) Law 2008] , Jersey Legal Information Board. Retrieved on 15 January 2008.] and was brought into force on 1 April, in time for the general elections in late 2008. [ [http://www.statesassembly.gov.je/documents/propositions/8355-38690-1552007.htm "Public Elections: reduction in voting age to 16"] , States of Jersey, 15 May 2007. Retrieved on 6 July 2007.] [ [http://www.jerseylaw.je/Law/display.aspx?url=lawsinforce%5chtm%5cROFiles%5cR%26OYear2008%2fR%26O-041-2008.htm Public Elections (Amendment No. 2) (Jersey) Law 2007 (Appointed Day) Act 2008] , Jersey Legal Information Board. Retrieved on 13 April 2008.]

On 31 October 2007 a proposal [cite news
title = ‘Give our young people a voice’
publisher = The Guernsey Press and Star
date = 2007-09-18
url = http://www.thisisguernsey.com/code/showarchive.pl?ArticleID=002703&year=2007&category=news
accessdate = 2007-09-23
] [http://www.gov.gg/ccm/policy-and-hr/billets--resolutions/2007/blllet-dtat---xxii-2007-october.en Billet d'État XXII 2007 (October) & Resolutions] , States of Guernsey. Retrieved on 20 December 2007.] for a reduction made by the House Committee of the States of Guernsey, and approved by the States' Policy Committee, was adopted by the assembly by 30 votes to 15. [cite news
title = Too young at 16 to vote – deputy
publisher = The Guernsey Press and Star
date = 2007-11-02
url = http://www.thisisguernsey.com/code/shownewsarticle.pl?ArticleID=002891
accessdate = 2007-11-03
] An Order-in-Council sanctioning the law was made on 12 December, and it was registered at the Court of Guernsey on 19 December. It came into force immediately, and the voting age was accordingly reduced in time for the Guernsey general election, 2008.cite news
title = 16 Year Olds Can Vote in General Election
publisher = States of Guernsey — The Official Guernsey Government Website
date = 2007-12-19
url = http://www.gov.gg/ccm/policy-and-hr/press-release/2007/december/16-Year-Olds-can-Vote-in-General-Election.en
accessdate = 2008-01-15
]

Alderney and Sark, each part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, have autonomy in deciding the question. Both have yet to favour a reduction to 16.

Other countries

Iran had been unique in awarding suffrage at 15, but raised the age to 18 in January 2007 despite the opposition of the Government.cite news
title = Iran raises voting age to 18
publisher = Iran Focus
date = 2007-01-14
url = http://www.iranfocus.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=9841
accessdate = 2007-02-04
] [cite news
title = Iran Parliament raises voting age to 18
publisher = IranMania
date = 2007-01-03
url = http://www.iranmania.com/News/ArticleView/Default.asp?ArchiveNews=Yes&NewsCode=48537&NewsKind=CurrentAffairs
accessdate = 2007-05-06
] In May 2007 the Iranian Cabinet proposed a bill to reverse the increase. [cite news
title = Bill may lower voting age to 15
publisher = Press TV
date = 2007-05-02
url = http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=8391&sectionid=351020101
accessdate = 2007-05-06
] [cite news
title = President planning to lower voting age
publisher = Press TV
date = 2007-09-23
url = http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=24264&sectionid=351020101
accessdate = 2007-09-23
]

On 6 May 2007 the canton of Glarus in Switzerland voted to reduce the voting age from 18 to 16 for cantonal and local elections.cite news
title = Swiss canton drops voting age to 16
publisher = AP/International Herald Tribune Europe
date = 2007-05-06
url = http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/05/06/europe/EU-GEN-Switzerland-Young-Voters.php
accessdate = 2007-05-09
] cite news
title = Glarus lowers voting age to 16
publisher = 24 Heures
date = 2007-05-07
url = http://www.24heures.ch/pages/home/24_heures/english_corner/news/news_detail/(contenu)/73342
accessdate = 2007-05-09
]

The New Zealand Green Party MP Sue Bradford announced on 21 June 2007 that she intended to introduce her "Civics Education and Voting Age Bill" on the next occasion upon which a place became available for the consideration of Members' Bills. [ [http://www.greens.org.nz/searchdocs/PR10947.html Bradford launches Bill to lower voting age to 16] , Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand, 21 June 2007. Retrieved on 2 July 2007.] When this happened on 25 July Bradford abandoned the idea, citing an adverse public reaction. [cite news
title = Green MP abandons voting age bill
publisher = Radio New Zealand News
date = 2007-07-26
url = http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/latest/200707261310/green_mp_abandons_voting_age_bill
accessdate = 2007-07-26
] The Bill would have sought to reduce the voting age to 16 in New Zealand and make civics education part of the compulsory curriculum in schools.

A request to lower the voting age to 16 was made during the consideration of revisions to the Constitution of Venezuela in 2007. Cilia Flores, president of the National Assembly, announced that the Mixed Committee for Constitutional Reform had found the idea to be acceptable. [cite news
first = Jeremy
last = Morgan
title = Further details of Chavez’ package of constitutional reforms are emerging
publisher = Caracas Daily Journal
date = 2007-09-09
url = http://www.vheadline.com/readnews.asp?id=75781
accessdate = 2007-07-29
] Following approval in the legislature [cite news
first = Matthew
last = Walter
title = Venezuela May Lower Voting Age, Add Gay Rights in Constitution
publisher = Bloomberg.com
date = 2007-10-11
url = http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601086&sid=aqg5jOxmM.Vg&refer=latin_america
accessdate = 2007-10-13
] the amendment formed part of the package of constitutional proposals, and was defeated in the 2007 referendum.

A report suggesting that consideration be given to reducing the voting age to 16 in the Australian Capital Territory in Canberra, Australia was tabled in the territorial legislature on 26 September 2007. [cite news
title = ACT to consider lowering voting age
publisher = ABC News (Australia)
date = 2007-09-26
url = http://abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/09/26/2043628.htm
accessdate = 2007-07-29
] This prompted the Youth Affairs Council of Victoria to voice its support for the making of a similar reduction in that state. [cite news
title = Support for lower vote age
publisher = Herald Sun
date = 2007-09-28
url = http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,22495227-2862,00.html
accessdate = 2007-07-29
]

Voting ages around the world

18 is the most common voting age, with a small minority of countries differing from this rule. Those with a national minimum age of 17 include East Timor, Indonesia, North Korea, the Seychelles and Sudan. The minimum age is 16 in Austria, Brazil, Cuba, Nicaragua and the Isle of Man (though Man is not a sovereign state). People aged 16-18 can vote in Bosnia, Serbia and Montenegro if employed. By contrast the minimum age in Uzbekistan is 25, which age is also used in Italy for elections to the Senate. Some countries have variable provision for the minimum voting age, whereby a lower age is set for eligibility to vote in state, regional or municipal elections.

The only known maximum voting age is in the Holy See, where the franchise for electing a new Pope is restricted to Cardinals under the age of 80.

legend|magenta|25

Alphabetical list of countries

The following is an alphabetical list of voting ages in the various countries of the world.

A

*Afghanistan: 18
*Albania: 18
*Algeria: 18
*American Samoa: 18
*Andorra: 18
*Angola: 18
*Anguilla: 18
*Antigua and Barbuda: 18
*Argentina: 18
*Armenia: 18
*Aruba: 18
*Australia: 18 (compulsory for all over 18)
*Austria: 16
*Azerbaijan: 18

B

*Bahamas: 18
*Bahrain: 18
*Bangladesh: 18
*Barbados: 18
*Belarus: 18
*Belgium: 18
*Belize: 18
*Benin: 18
*Bermuda: 18
*Bhutan: each family has one vote in village-level elections; note — in late 2003 Bhutan's legislature passed a new election law
*Bolivia: 18 years of age, universal and compulsory (married); 21 years of age, universal and compulsory (single)
*Bosnia and Herzegovina: 18
*Botswana: 18
*Brazil: 16 (mandatory suffrage from 18 to 70, military conscripts do not vote)
*British Virgin Islands: 18
*Brunei: no suffrage
*Bulgaria: 18
*Burkina Faso: 18
*Burundi: 18

C

*Cambodia: 18
*Cameroon: 21
*Canada: 18
*Cape Verde: 18
*Cayman Islands: 18
*Central African Republic: 21
*Chad: 18
*Chile: 18
*China, People's Republic of: 18
*Colombia: 18
*Comoros: 18
*Congo, Democratic Republic of the: 18
*Congo, Republic of the: 18
*Cook Islands: 18
*Costa Rica: 18
*Cote d'Ivoire: 18
*Croatia: 18
*Cuba: 16
*Cyprus: 18
*Czech republic: 18

D

*Denmark: 18
*Djibouti: 18
*Dominica: 18
*Dominican Republic: 18 years of age, universal and compulsory; married persons regardless of age (members of the armed forces and national police cannot vote)

E

*East Timor: 17
*Ecuador: 18
*Egypt: 18
*El Salvador: 18
*Equatorial Guinea: 18
*Eritrea: 18
*Estonia: 18 years of age; universal for all Estonian citizens
*Ethiopia: 18
*European Union: 18

F

*Falkland Islands: 18
*Faroe Islands: 18
*Fiji: 21
*Finland: 18
*France: 18
*French Guiana: 18
*French Polynesia: 18

G

*Gabon: 21
*Gambia: 18
*Georgia: 18
*Germany: 18 (16 for municipal elections in the states of Lower Saxony, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, North Rhine-Westphalia, Saxony-Anhalt and Schleswig-Holstein [5/16] )
*Ghana: 18
*Gibraltar: 18 years of age; universal, plus other British citizens who have been residents six months or more
*Greece: 18
*Greenland: 18
*Grenada: 18
*Guadeloupe: 18
*Guam: 18 years of age; universal; US citizens, but do not vote in US presidential elections
*Guatemala: 18 years of age; universal (active duty members of the armed forces may not vote and are restricted to their barracks on election day)
*Guernsey: 16 [http://www.gov.gg/ccm/navigation/government/states-of-guernsey/reform--guernsey--law--1948/ Reform (Guernsey) Law, 1948, s. 28(1)] ; amended by Reform (Guernsey) (Amendment) Law, 2007 (adopted on 31 October 2007, sanctioned on 12 December and registered and coming into force on 19 December).]
*Guinea: 18
*Guinea-Bissau: 18
*Guyana: 18

H

*Haiti: 18
*Honduras: 18
*Hong Kong: direct election 18 years of age; universal for permanent residents living in the territory of Hong Kong for the past seven years; indirect election limited to about 200,000 members of functional constituencies and an 800-member election committee drawn from broad regional groupings, municipal organizations, and central government bodies
*Hungary: 18

I

*Iceland: 18
*Israel: 18 (17 for municipal elections)
*India: 18
*Indonesia: 17 years of age; universal and married persons regardless of age
*Iran: 18 (changed from 15 in 2007)
*Iraq: formerly 18 years of age; universal
*Ireland: 18
*Isle of Man: 16 (changed from 18 in 2006)
*Italy: 18; 25 to elect the Senate

J

*Jamaica: 18
*Japan: 20
*Jersey: 16
*Jordan: 18

K

*Kazakhstan: 18
*Kenya: 18
*Kiribati: 18
*Korea, North: 17
*Korea, South: 18
*Kuwait: 21; males who are not in the military forces, and females (as of 16 May 2005); all voters must have been citizens for 20 years; current proposal for reduction to 18 [cite news
title = NA panel lowers voting age to 18
publisher = kuwaittimes.net
date = 2007-01-16
url = http://www.kuwaittimes.net/Navariednews.asp?dismode=article&artid=2088130036
accessdate = 2007-02-04
]
*Kyrgyzstan: 18

L

*Laos: 18
*Latvia: 18 years of age; universal for Latvian citizens
*Lebanon: 21 years of age;
*Lesotho: 18
*Liberia: 18
*Libya: 18
*Liechtenstein: 18
*Lithuania: 18
*Luxembourg: 18

M

*Macau: direct election 18 years of age, universal for permanent residents living in Macau for the past seven years; indirect election limited to organizations registered as "corporate voters" (257 are currently registered) and a 300-member Election Committee drawn from broad regional groupings, municipal organizations, and central government bodies
*Republic of Macedonia: 18
*Madagascar: 18
*Malawi: 18
*Malaysia: 21
*Maldives: 21
*Mali: 18
*Malta: 18
*Marshall Islands: 18
*Martinique: 18
*Mauritania: 18
*Mauritius: 18
*Mayotte: 18
*Mexico: 18
*Micronesia, Federated States of: 18
*Moldova: 18
*Monaco: 18
*Mongolia: 18
*Montserrat: 18
*Morocco: 18
*Mozambique: 18
*Myanmar (Burma): 18

N

*Namibia: 18
*Nauru: 20
*Nepal: 18
*Netherlands: 18
*Netherlands Antilles: 18
*New Caledonia: 18
*New Zealand: 18
*Nicaragua: 16
*Niger: 18
*Nigeria: 18
*Niue: 18
*Norfolk Island: 18
*Northern Mariana Islands: 18 years of age; universal; indigenous inhabitants are US citizens but do not vote in US presidential elections
*Norway: 18

O

*Oman: 21, universal except for members of the military and police.

P

*Pakistan: 18 years of age; universal; joint electorates and reserved parliamentary seats for women and non-Muslims
*Palau: 18
*Panama: 18
*Papua New Guinea: 18
*Paraguay: 18
*Peru: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory until the age of 70; (members of the military and national police may not vote)
*Philippines: 18 (16 for municipal elections and married persons)
*Pitcairn Islands: 18 years of age; universal with three years' residency
*Poland: 18
*Portugal: 18
*Puerto Rico: 18 years of age; universal; island residents are US citizens but do not vote in US presidential elections

Q

*Qatar: 18

R

*Réunion: 18
*Romania: 18
*Russia: 18
*Rwanda: 18

*Saint Kitts and Nevis: 18
*Saint Lucia: 18
*Saint Pierre and Miquelon: 18
*Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: 18
*Samoa: 21
*San Marino: 18
*Sao Tome and Principe: 18
*Saudi Arabia: adult male citizens age 21 or older (voter registration began in November 2004 for partial municipal council elections held nationwide from February through April 2005)
*Senegal: 18
*Serbia: 18 [cite news
title = Constitution of the Republic of Serbia
publisher = http://www.srbija.sr.gov.yu
date =
url = http://www.srbija.sr.gov.yu/cinjenice_o_srbiji/ustav_odredbe.php?id=218
accessdate = 2007-03-05
]
*Seychelles: 17
*Sierra Leone: 18
*Singapore: 21
*Slovakia: 18
*Slovenia: 18 years of age; universal (16 years of age, if employed)
*Solomon Islands: 21
*Somalia: 18
*South Africa: 18
*Spain: 18
*Sri Lanka: 18
*Sudan: 17
*Suriname: 18
*Swaziland: 18
*Sweden: 18
*Switzerland: 18 (16 for cantonal and municipal elections in the canton of Glarus [1/26] )
*Syria: 18

T

*Taiwan (Republic of China): 20 (there is a current proposal to lower it to 17 from Taiwanese government)
*Tajikistan: 18
*Tanzania: 18
*Thailand: 18 (compulsory)
*Togo: 18
*Tokelau: 21
*Tonga: 21
*Trinidad and Tobago: 18
*Tunisia: 20
*Turkey: 18
*Turkmenistan: 18
*Turks and Caicos Islands: 18
*Tuvalu: 18

U

*Uganda: 18
*Ukraine: 18
*United Arab Emirates: 18
*United Kingdom: 18
*United States: 18; however, in many states, persons 17 years of age are permitted to vote in primary elections if they will be 18 years of age on or before the day of the general election.
*Uruguay: 18
*Uzbekistan: 25

V

*Vanuatu: 18
*Venezuela: 18
*Vietnam: 18
*Virgin Islands of the United States: 18 years of age; universal; island residents are U.S. citizens but do not vote in U.S. presidential elections

W

*Wallis and Futuna: 18
*Western Sahara: none; a UN-sponsored voter identification campaign not yet completed. The planned age is 18

Y

*Yemen: 18

Z

*Zambia: 18
*Zimbabwe: 18

Chronology of lowering the voting age to 18

The following is a chronological list of the dates upon which countries lowered the voting age to 18; unless otherwise indicated, the reduction was from 21. In some cases the age was lowered decrementally, and so the "staging points" are also given. Some information is also included on the relevant legal instruments involved.

*Czechoslovakia: 1946
*United Kingdom: 1 January 1970 (Representation of the People Act 1969)
*Canada: 26 June 1970 [cite news
title =Young Canadians and the Voting Age: Should it be Lowered?
publisher =Canadian Policy Research Network
year =2005
url =http://www.cprn.com/en/diversity-voting.cfm
accessdate = 2007-02-05
] [cite news
title =Canadian History 1900-1999
publisher =Canadian History Directory
date =2007-01-01
url =http://www3.telus.net/public/dgarneau/canada-2.htm
accessdate = 2007-02-05
] (federal elections, amendment to Canada Elections Act):non-federal elections: Quebec in 1963, [http://www.elections.ca/eca/eim/article_search/article.asp?id=53&lang=e&frmPageSize=&textonly=false Elections Canada On-Line] ] Manitoba on 10 October 1969, [ [http://www.electionsmanitoba.ca/main/history/hist_o_view.htm Elections Manitoba] ] Ontario in 1971, Nova Scotia in 1973 following reduction to 19 in 1970 [ [http://www.canadianencyclopedia.ca/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1SEC875301 The Canadian Encyclopedia, Nova Scotia] ] and British Columbia in 1992 following reduction to 19 in 1952 [ [http://www.elections.bc.ca/general/history.html Elections British Columbia] )]
*Germany: 1970 [http://www.geocities.com/capitolhill/lobby/8522/wahl16_e.html]
*Netherlands: 1971
*United States: 1 July 1971 (XXVI Amendment to the Constitution, Alaska from 19, Hawaii from 20; federal voting age previously reduced on 1 January 1971 by the Voting Rights Act Amendments 1970, ss. 302, 305 [Title 3, 84 Stat. 318, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1973bb.; text reproduced in Oregon v. Mitchell, 400 U.S. 112, 223] ):prior reductions: Georgia in August 1943 [cite news
title= Suffrage Jr.
publisher= Time
url= http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,933171,00.html
date= 1943-08-16
accessdate= 2007-02-05
] and Kentucky in 1955; [http://www.djs.state.md.us/megafile/msa/speccol/sc2900/sc2908/000001/000138/html/am138--51.html "Lowering the Minimum Voting Age to Eighteen Years - Pro and Con Arguments"] , Constitutional Revision Study Documents of the Maryland Constitutional Convention Commission, 1968. Retrieved on 5 February 2007.] Guam in 1954cite news
last = Cheng
first = J.
title = The 'Qualified Voter' and the Minimum Voting Age
publisher = Department of Political Science, University of Michigan
url = http://64.233.183.104/search?q=cache:Hw2RgCphypIJ:millercenter.virginia.edu/pubs/dissertation_chapters/2005/cheng.pdf+%22The+Qualified+Voter+and+the+Minimum+Voting+Age%22&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=uk
accessdate = 2007-02-05
] and American Samoa in 1965
*Finland: 1972 (from 20; previous reductions were 24 to 21 in 1944 and 21 to 20 in 1968/9) [cite news
title =HS Gallup: Little public support for reduction in voting age
publisher =Helsingin Sanomat International Edition — Metro
date =2007-01-11
url =http://www.hs.fi/english/article/HS+Gallup+Little+public+support+for+reduction+in+voting+age/1135224233031
accessdate = 2007-02-05
)
] [http://www.eduskunta.fi/fakta/historia/eng/tapahtuma_aika.htm]
*Sweden: 1972 (from 20) [http://www.idea.int/publications/voter_turnout_weurope/upload/chapter%201.pdf]
*Ireland: 5 January 1973 (Fourth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland)
*Australia: 1973 (New South Wales was the first state to do so, in 1970)
*France: 5 July 1974 (Act No. 74-631) [ [http://www.conseil-constitutionnel.fr/langues/anglais/cst1.pdf La Constitution du 4 Octobre 1958] , Art. 3 and [http://195.83.177.9/code/liste.phtml?lang=uk&c=22&r=348 Le Code Civil francais] , Art. 488]
*New Zealand: November 1974 (from 20; previous reduction from 21 to 20 in 1969) [ [http://www.elections.org.nz/study/history/right-to-vote.html Elections New Zealand] , "The Right to Vote". Retrieved on 5 February 2007.] [ [http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/Asia-and-Oceania/New-Zealand-GOVERNMENT.html Encyclopedia of the Nations, New Zealand] . Retrieved on 6 February 2007.]
*Dominica: 1974 [ [http://www.lennoxhonychurch.com/article.cfm?Id=394 "Important Dates in Dominica's History"] , Lennox Honychurch]
*Italy: 1975 (voting age to elect the Senate remained at 25)
*Trinidad and Tobago: 1976
*Denmark: 19 September 1978 (from 20; 53.8% in referendum; previous reductions were 25 to 23 in 1953, 23 to 21 in 1961 and 21 to 20 in 1971) [ [http://www.folketinget.dk/BAGGRUND/00000047/00232629.htm folketinget.dk, "Representative democracy and referenda"] ]
*Spain: 29 December 1978 (1978 Constitution) [cite journal
last =Maravall
first =J.M.
title =Political Cleavages in Spain and the 1979 General Election
journal =Government and Opposition
volume =14
issue =3
pages =299–317
month =July | year =1979
url =http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1477-7053.1979.tb00247.x?journalCode=goop
accessdate = 2007-06-07
doi =10.1111/j.1477-7053.1979.tb00247.x
]
*Belgium: 1981 [ [http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/World-Leaders-2003/Belgium-POLITICAL-BACKGROUND.html Encyclopedia of the Nations, Belgium] . Retrieved on 6 February 2007.]
*India: 28 March 1989 (61st Constitution Amendment Act, 1988 read with Act 21 of 1989) [ [http://ceodelhi.nic.in/FAQ/FAQs3.asp Official Website of the Chief Electoral Officer, Delhi, FAQs Q21] ]
*Switzerland: 1991 (from 20; referendum held on 3 March) [ [http://www.swissworld.org/dvd_rom/eng/direct_democracy_2004/content/politsystem/politsystem.html swissworld.org, "The political system in Switzerland"] ]
*Austria: 1992 (from 19; previous reductions were 21 to 20 in 1949 and 20 to 19 in 1970) [cite book
first =Reingard
last =Spannring
title =Orientations of Young Men and Women to Citizenship and European Identity: Workpackage 1 – Socio-demographic Background: Austria
publisher =Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna
url =http://www.oeij.at/doku/European_Identity.pdf
accessdate = 2007-05-09|format=PDF
]
*Liechtenstein: 2000 (from 20; LGBl. 2000 No. 55) [ [http://www.geocities.com/dagtho/lieconst19211005h.html Constitution of the Principality of Liechtenstein] , Art. 29(2)]
*Jordan: July 2001 (from 19; Provisional Election Law No. 34/2001) [ [http://www.ipu.org/news-e/4-9.htm The World of Parliaments, "Quarterly Review" No. 4] , IPU, 2001. Retrieved on 22 July 2007.]
*Turkey: 17 October 2001 (from 20; [ [http://www.byegm.gov.tr/mevzuat/anayasa/anayasa-ing.htm The Constitution of the Republic of Turkey] , Article 67] previous reduction from 21 to 20 in May 1987) [ [http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/Asia-and-Oceania/Turkey-GOVERNMENT.html Encyclopedia of the Nations, Turkey] ]
*Pakistan: 21 August 2002 (Legal Framework Order, 2002) [cite book
first =M.
last =Nadeem
coauthors =Laghari, J.
title =Study of Pakistan Election System as “Intelligent e-Election”
publisher =Faculty of Computer Science and Software Engineering, Szabist, Karachi
url =http://arxiv.org/abs/cs/0405105
accessdate = 2007-02-04
] [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/1913092.stm] ; was 18 under 1973 Constitution, then increased to 21, then lowered back to 18. [ [http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/Asia-and-Oceania/Pakistan-GOVERNMENT.html Encyclopedia of the Nations, Pakistan] Retrieved on 6 February 2007.]
*Morocco: 11 December 2002 (from 20) [cite news
title =Morocco lowers voting age
publisher =BBC News
date =2002-12-11
url =http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/2565373.stm
accessdate = 2007-02-05
]

Chronology of lowering the voting age to 16

This is a further list, similar to the above but of the dates upon which countries lowered the voting age to 16; unless otherwise indicated, the reduction was from 18.

*Nicaragua: November 1984 (from 21) [cite journal
last =Bowman
first =K.
coauthors =Lehoucq, F.;Mahoney, J.
title =Measuring Political Democracy:Case Expertise, Data Adequacy, and Central America
journal =Comparative Political Studies
volume =38
issue =8
pages =939–970 (Appendix C)
year =2005
url =http://blmdemocracy.gatech.edu/BLM%20select%20bibliography.pdf
accessdate = 2007-02-04
doi =10.1177/0010414005277083|format=PDF
] [cite web
title = MacroHistory: Prehistory to yesterday: The Sandinista Revolution
url = http://www.fsmitha.com/h2/ch24nic.htm
accessdate = 2008-01-12
]
*Brazil: 5 October 1988 (Constitution of the Federative Republic of Brazil, 1988) [cite book
last = Federal Research Division, Library of Congress
title = Brazil — a country study
date = April 1997
pages = 300
isbn = 9781579802998
]
*Isle of Man: 11 July 2006; legislation brought into force in time for general election held on 23 November 2006 [ [http://www.gov.im/lib/docs/infocentre/acts/repofpeople.pdf Representation of the People (Amendment) Act 2006] , s. 4]
*Austria: 1 July 2007 (BGBl. No. 1/1930, as amended)
*Guernsey: 19 December 2007 (Reform (Guernsey) (Amendment) Law, 2007)
*Jersey: 1 April 2008 (Public Elections (Amendment No. 2) (Jersey) Law 2008)

Organizations in favour of lowering the voting age

The following are political parties and other campaigning organisations that have either endorsed a lower voting age or who favour its removal.

Alphabetical list of countries

Australia

* The Australian Democrats
* The Greens
*Socialist Alliance

Austria

*Austrian Greens
*Austrian Social Democrats [http://www.spoe.at/]
*Liberales Froum [http://www.liberale.at/]
* [http://www.vote4future.at/ vote4future.at] , Austrian National Youth Council

Canada

*New Democratic Party
* [http://www.vote16.ca/ vote16.ca]

Denmark

*Social Democrats
*Socialist People's Party
* The Danish Youth Council — Dansk Ungdoms Fællesråd, Denmark, [http://www.duf.dk]

Germany

* [http://en.kraetzae.de/vote/ K.R.Ä.T.Z.Ä.]

Ireland

*Green Party / Comhantas Glas
*Labour Party
*Sinn Féin

Netherlands

*GreenLeft

New Zealand

*Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand

Norway

*Liberal Party of Norway [http://www.venstre.no/]

pain

*Izquierda Unida

United Kingdom

*Green Party of England and Wales
*Liberal Democrats
*Plaid Cymru
*Scottish National Party
*Votes at 16

United States

*ASFAR
*National Youth Rights Association

Notes

Further reading

*Cowley, Philip and David Denver (2004) 'Votes at 16? The Case Against,' "Representation" 41(1): 57-62.
*Folkes, Alex (2004) 'The Case for Votes at 16,' "Representation" 41(1): 52-6.

ee also

*Age of candidacy
*Suffrage
*Adultcentrism
*Gerontocracy

External links

* [https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2123.html Field Listing - Suffrage] from the CIA World Factbook
* [http://de.kraetzae.de/wahlrecht/international/ A more complete list of voting ages around the world (in German)]
* [http://www.freechild.org/SNAYR/suffrage.htm Youth Suffrage Resources]
* [http://www.youthrights.org/votingage.php NYRA's Voting Age Info Dump]


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