A voting age is a minimum age established by law that a person must attain to be eligible to vote in a public election. Typically, the age is set at 18 years; however, ages as low as 16 and as high as 21 exist (see list below). Studies show that 21% of all 18 year olds have experience with voting.
- 1 Overview
- 2 History
- 3 Further reductions
- 4 Debates in various countries
- 5 Voting ages around the world
- 6 Chronology of lowering the voting age to 18
- 7 Chronology of lowering the voting age to 16
- 8 Organizations in favour of lowering the voting age
- 8.1 Alphabetical list of countries
- 9 See also
- 10 Notes
- 11 Further reading
- 12 External links
The vast majority of countries in the world have established a voting age. Most governments consider that those younger than the chosen threshold lack the capacity to make informed voting decisions. The voting age is often of such importance that it is set by means of a constitutional provision.
In May 2009, Danish Member of Parliament Mogens Jensen presented an initiative to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg to lower the voting age in Europe to 16. There has also been discussion of giving votes to children from birth, initially with the votes being cast by parents, who are presumed to better understand a child's interests (Demeny voting).
When the right to vote was first accorded in democracies the voting age was generally set at 21 or higher. In the 1970s the voting age was reduced to 18 in many countries. Debate is currently under way in many places on proposals to reduce the voting age to or below 16.
Before the Second World War, almost all countries had voting ages of 21 or higher. Czechoslovakia was early to act, reducing its age to 18 in 1946, and by 1968 a total of 17 states had made the same reduction. A large number of countries, particularly in Western Europe, reduced their voting ages to 18 during the 1970s, starting with the United Kingdom with the Representation of the People Act 1969. The USA (26th Amendment), Canada, Australia, France and others followed 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. However, a few countries maintained voting ages of 20 years or higher. Eighteen-year-old men could be drafted to go to war, so many people felt they should be able to vote at the age of 18.
Consideration of a reduction to 18 continued into the late 20th and early 21st centuries in those countries that had not yet made the change. Reductions were seen in India, Switzerland, Austria and Morocco during this time. Japan is due to make the change to 18 in 2016. A dispute is continuing in the Maldives.
Around the year 2000 a number of countries began to consider whether the voting age ought to be reduced further, with arguments most often being made in favour of a reduction to 16. The earliest moves came during the 1990s, when the voting age for municipal elections in some States of Germany was lowered to 16. Lower Saxony was the first state to make such a reduction, in 1995, and four other states later copied the move.
During the 2000s several proposals for a reduced voting age were put forward in U.S. states, including California, Florida and Alaska, but none was successful. A national reduction was proposed in 2005 in Canada and a state reduction in New South Wales, Australia, but these proposals were not adopted.
Debates in various countries
In 2007 Austria became the first member of the European Union to adopt a voting age of 16 for most 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 shortly after 2000. Three states had made the reduction by 2003 (Burgenland, Carinthia and Styria), and in May 2003 Vienna became the fourth. Salzburg followed suit, and so by the start of 2005 the total had reached at least five states out of nine. 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.
After the 2006 election, 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. The policy was set in motion by a Government announcement on 14 March, and a bill proposing an amendment to the Constitution was presented to the legislature on 2 May. On 5 June the National Council approved the proposal following a recommendation from its Constitution Committee. 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. The voting age was reduced when the Bill's provisions came into force on 1 July 2007. Austria thus became the first member of the European Union, and the first of the developed world democracies, to adopt a voting age of 16 for all purposes.
Brazil lowered its minimum voting age from 18 to 16 with its 1988 constitution. The presidential election of 1989 was the first with the new minimum voting age. People between the ages 18 and 70 are required to vote.
On 20 November 2013 the Maltese parliament adopted a proposal to lower its voting age from 18 to 16 for local elections starting from 2015. The proposal gained wide support from both the government and opposition, social scientists and youth organizations.
The 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. This was the first time the reduction of a voting age below 18 had ever been put to a vote in the Commons. The Government opposed the amendment, and it was defeated by 434 votes to 36.
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. At that 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.
In 2004 the UK 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. On 29 November 2005 the House of Commons voted 136-128 (on a free vote) against a Private Member's 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. On the same day the 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.
The UK 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". The Commission would examine the case for lowering the voting age. On launching the Paper in the House of Commons, PM Gordon Brown said: "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."
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.
During the Youth Parliament debates of 30 October 2009 in the House of Commons, Votes at 16 was debated and young people of that age group voted for it overwhelmingly as a campaign priority. Since that debate the issue has been raised in Prime Minister's Questions and has also gained the widespread support of the major political parties.
There was criticism about denying young people younger than 18 years a right to vote in the referendum on the membership in the European Union in 2016. In the referendum about the Scottish independence in 2014, 16-17 year olds had been able to vote. It was criticized that those who have to live with the consequences of the referendum for the longest time were excluded from the vote. Supporters of an inclusion of young voters consider the exclusion as a violation of the democratic principle and a severe deficit of the referendum. Opinion polls, which proved to be unreliable in their forecasting of the referendum result, suggested that the excluded voters would have voted with an overwhelming majority for remain and that an inclusion of the age-group of 16-17 year old citizens would have led to a win of the remain campaign.[dubious ]
In September 2011 it was announced that the voting age was likely to be reduced from 18 to 16 for the Scottish independence referendum. This was approved by the Scottish Parliament in June 2013.
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.
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, and the legislative amendments were adopted on 26 September. The law was sanctioned by Order in Council on 12 December, and was brought into force on 1 April, in time for the general elections in late 2008.
On 31 October 2007 a proposal 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. 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.
In the United States, twenty-one states permit 17-year-olds to vote in primary elections and caucuses if they will be 18 by election day. States include: Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington. In Alaska, Kansas, North Dakota and Washington, 17-year-old Democrats may participate in caucuses, but are barred from participating in the Republican caucus. In Minnesota, 17-year-olds may participate in presidential caucuses, but may not vote in primary elections for other offices. The 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prevents states from "denying" suffrage to 18-year-olds, but does not prevent states from establishing a lower voting age. Several states (Georgia, Kentucky) already allowed 18-year-olds to vote prior to passage of the 26th amendment.[dubious ] Except for the express limitations provided for in Amendments XIV, XV, XIX and XXVI, voter qualifications for House and Senate elections are largely delegated to the States under Article I, Section 2 and Amendment XVII of the United States Constitution, which respectively state that "The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature." and "The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures." [But see, Oregon v. Mitchell, 400 U.S. 112 (1970)]
Currently, the Maine Green Independent Party, the state branch of the Green Party of the United States, calls for the lowering of the voting age to 17. Youth suffrage appears to be gaining ground in Massachusetts; three of the four Democratic United States Senate candidates in 2010 supported lowering the voting age.
During the Vietnam War, most of those subjected to the draft were too young to vote or consume alcoholic beverages in most states, and the image of young people being forced to risk their lives in the military without the privileges of enfranchisement or the ability to consume alcohol legally also successfully pressured legislators to lower the voting age nationally and the drinking age in many states (see also Opposition to the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War#The draft).
The debate about lowering voting age from 21 to 18 in the U.S. began during World War II and intensified during the Vietnam War. In the 1970 case Oregon v. Mitchell the Supreme Court ruled that Congress had the right to regulate the minimum age in federal elections; however, not at local and state level. Congress passed the 26th Amendment in March 1971. It was promptly ratified by the states and became law in July 1971.
Iran had been unique in awarding suffrage at 15, but raised the age to 18 in January 2007 despite the opposition of the Government. In May 2007 the Iranian Cabinet proposed a bill to reverse the increase.
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. When this happened on 25 July Bradford abandoned the idea, citing an adverse public reaction. 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 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 acceptable. Following approval in the legislature 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 and defeated. In 2015, the opposition leader Bill Shorten made calls for the voting age to be lowered to 16. 
Voting ages around the world
Eighteen 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, Greece, Indonesia, North Korea, South Sudan and Sudan. The minimum age is 16 in Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey (three self-governing British Crown Dependencies). People aged 16–18 can vote in Bosnia, Serbia and Montenegro if employed. The highest minimum voting age is 21 in several nations. 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.
Alphabetical list of countries
The following is an alphabetical list of voting ages in the various countries of the world.
- Afghanistan: 18
- Albania: 18
- Algeria: 18
- American Samoa: 18
- Andorra: 18
- Angola: 18
- Anguilla: 18
- Antigua and Barbuda: 18
- Argentina: 16, 16 to 18 and 70+ optional.
- Armenia: 18
- Australia: 18 (compulsory for all over 18, voluntary enrolment accepted at 16 & 17 but cannot vote until after turned 18 http://www.aec.gov.au/enrol/)
- Austria: 16
- Azerbaijan: 18
- Bahamas: 18
- Bahrain: 20 (Bahraini Cabinet in May 2011 endorsed a draft law lowering eligibility to 18 years)
- Bangladesh: 18
- Barbados: 18
- Belarus: 18
- Belgium: 18 (compulsory)
- Belize: 18
- Benin: 18
- Bermuda: 18
- Bhutan: 18
- Bolivia: 18, universal and compulsory
- Bosnia and Herzegovina: 18, 16 if employed
- Botswana: 18
- Brazil: 18 to 70 compulsory, 16 to under 18 AND over 70 optional. Voting is also optional to all illiterate citizens older than 16.
- British Virgin Islands: 18
- Brunei: 18 (village elections only)
- Bulgaria: 18
- Burkina Faso: 18
- Burundi: 18
- Cambodia: 18
- Cameroon: 21
- Canada: 18
- Cape Verde: 18
- Cayman Islands: 18
- Central African Republic: 18
- Chad: 18
- Chile: 18
- China: 18
- Cocos (Keeling) Islands: 18
- Colombia: 18
- Comoros: 18
- Democratic Republic of the Congo: 18
- Republic of the Congo: 18
- Cook Islands: 18
- Costa Rica: 18
- Côte d'Ivoire: 18
- Croatia: 18
- Cuba: 16
- Curaçao: 18
- Cyprus: 18
- Czech Republic: 18
- Denmark: 18
- Djibouti: 18
- Dominica: 18
- Dominican Republic: 18, universal and compulsory; married persons regardless of age (members of the armed forces and national police cannot vote)
- East Timor: 17
- Ecuador: 16; universal, compulsory for literate persons ages 18–65, optional for other eligible voters
- Egypt: 18
- El Salvador: 18
- England: 18
- Equatorial Guinea: 18
- Eritrea: 18
- Estonia: 18; 16 for local elections
- Ethiopia: 17
- European Union: 18
- Falkland Islands: 18
- Faroe Islands: 18
- Fiji: 18, as of 2013 Constitution (previously 21)
- Finland: 18
- France: 18
- French Guiana: 18
- French Polynesia: 18
- Gabon: 18
- Gambia: 18
- Georgia: 18
- Germany: 18
- Ghana: 18
- Gibraltar: 18; universal, plus other British citizens who have been residents six months or more
- Greece: 17
- Greenland: 18
- Grenada: 18
- Guadeloupe: 18
- Guam: 18; universal; US citizens, but do not vote in US presidential elections
- Guatemala: 18; universal (active duty members of the armed forces may not vote and are restricted to their barracks on election day)
- Guernsey: 16
- Guinea: 18
- Guinea-Bissau: 18
- Guyana: 18
- 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 220,000 members of functional constituencies and an 1,200-member election committee drawn from broad regional groupings, municipal organizations, and central government bodies
- Hungary: 18
- Iceland: 18
- India: 18
- Indonesia: 17; universal and married persons regardless of age. except for the military and police
- Iran: 18 (changed from 15 Years to 18 Years in 2007, but that was changed back in 2009 and changed again to 18 in 2011)
- Iraq: 18
- Ireland: 18
- Isle of Man: 16
- Israel: 18 (17 for municipal elections)
- Italy: 18 (25 for Senate elections)
- Jamaica: 18 years
- Japan: 18 years (Changed from 20 to 18 in 2016)
- Jersey: 16 years
- Jordan: 18 years
- Kazakhstan: 18
- Kenya: 18
- Kiribati: 18
- North Korea: 17; members of the military have the right to vote, regardless of age
- South Korea: 19
- Kosovo (Disputed): 18
- Kuwait: 21; females and males who are not in the military or police forces; all voters must have been citizens for 20 years; current proposal for reduction to 18
- Kyrgyzstan: 18
- Laos: 18
- Latvia: 18; universal for Latvian citizens
- Lebanon: 21, tried to amend to 18 on 22 February 2010 but failed to pass.
- Lesotho: 18
- Liberia: 18
- Libya: 18
- Liechtenstein: 18
- Lithuania: 18
- Luxembourg: 18 - universal and compulsory until the age of 75; a proposal to lower the voting age to 16 was rejected in 2015 in a nationwide referendum (81% "no"-votes)
- 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" (973 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
- For Youth Parliament of Malaysia: 15 to 40
- Maldives: 18
- Mali: 18
- Malta: 18, however a motion has been passed in parliament to lower the voting age for local council elections (starting from 2015) to 16
- Marshall Islands: 18
- Martinique: 18
- Mauritania: 18
- Mauritius: 18
- Mayotte: 18
- Mexico: 18
- Federated States of Micronesia: 18
- Moldova: 18
- Monaco: 18
- Mongolia: 18
- Montenegro: 18
- Montserrat: 18
- Morocco: 18
- Mozambique: 18
- Myanmar (Burma): 18
- Namibia: 18
- Nauru: 20
- Nepal: 18
- Netherlands: 18
- New Caledonia: 18
- New Zealand: 18
- Nicaragua: 16
- Niger: 18
- Nigeria: 18
- Niue: 18
- Norfolk Island: 18
- Northern Mariana Islands: 18; universal; indigenous inhabitants are US citizens but do not vote in US presidential elections
- Norway: 18; however, persons 17 years of age are permitted to vote in parliamentary elections if they will be 18 years of age in the year the election is held.
- Oman: 21, universal except for members of the military and police.
- Pakistan: 18; universal; joint electorates and reserved parliamentary seats for women and non-Muslims
- Palau: 18
- Panama: 18
- Papua New Guinea: 18
- Paraguay: 18; universal and compulsory until the age of 75
- Peru: 18; universal and compulsory until the age of 70; (members of the military and national police could not vote until a Constitutional Reform in 2005)
- Philippines: 18
- For youth councils: 15 to 18; previously from 15 to 21. Incumbent are allowed to keep their positions if they surpassed the legal age.
- Pitcairn Islands: 18; universal with three years' residency
- Poland: 18
- Portugal: 18
- Puerto Rico: 18; universal; island residents are US citizens but do not vote in US presidential elections
- Qatar: 18
- Saint Helena: 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
- São Tomé and Príncipe: 18
- Saudi Arabia: 18
- Scotland: 16
- Senegal: 18
- Serbia: 18
- Seychelles: 18
- Sierra Leone: 18
- Singapore: 21
- Sint Maarten: 18
- Slovakia: 18
- Slovenia: 18
- Solomon Islands: 21
- Somalia: 18
- South Africa: 18
- South Sudan: 17
- Spain: 18 (The age was lowered to 16 only for Catalonia's 9N Referendum)
- 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
- Taiwan (Republic of China): 20 (there is a current proposal to lower it to 18)
- Tajikistan: 18
- Tanzania: 18
- Thailand: 18 (compulsory only for Thai-Cititzens, who are Thai-Cititzens from Birth on)
- Togo: 18
- Tokelau: 21
- Tonga: 21
- Trinidad and Tobago: 18
- Tunisia: 18 (with some exceptions)
- Turkey: 18
- Turkmenistan: 18
- Turks and Caicos Islands: 18
- Tuvalu: 18
- Uganda: 18
- Ukraine: 18
- United Arab Emirates: none but at least 25 (the minimum age is decided by the ruler of each Emirate and may vary from one Emirate to another)
- United Kingdom: 18 (16 for the Scottish independence referendum, Scottish Parliament elections and Scottish local government elections.)
- 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: 18
- Vanuatu: 18
- Venezuela: 18
- Vietnam: 18
- Virgin Islands of the United States: 18; universal; island residents are U.S. citizens but do not vote in U.S. presidential elections
- Wallis and Futuna: 18
- Western Sahara: none; (residents of Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara participate in Moroccan elections, Age 18) 
- Yemen: 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.
- Turkey: 20 April 1924 (Previously 25 per the 1876 constitution, reduced to 18 with the 1924 constitution. It was again raised to 22 on 5 December 1934 while granting full women's suffrage, and gradually lowered to 21 in 1961, 20 in 1987 and 18 in 1995)
- Czechoslovakia: 1946
- South Africa: 1958 (white voters only; Electoral Law Amendment Act, 1958)
- United Kingdom: 1 January 1970 (Representation of the People Act 1969)
- Canada: 26 June 1970 (federal elections, amendment to Canada Elections Act)
- non-federal elections: Quebec in 1963, Manitoba on 10 October 1969, Ontario in 1971, Nova Scotia in 1973 following reduction to 19 in 1970 and British Columbia in 1992 following reduction to 19 in 1952
- Germany: 1970 
- Netherlands: 1971 (previous reduction from 23 to 21 in 1965)
- United States: 1 July 1971, per the Twenty-sixth Amendment. Previously reduced on 1 January 1971 by the Voting Rights Act Amendments 1970, ss. 302, 305 (Prior reductions: Georgia in August 1943, Kentucky in 1955, Guam in 1954 and American Samoa in 1965.)
- Finland: 1972 (from 20; previous reductions were 24 to 21 in 1944 and 21 to 20 in 1968/1969)
- Sweden: 1972 (from 20) 
- 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)
- New Zealand: November 1974 (from 20; previous reduction from 21 to 20 in 1969)
- Dominica: 1974
- 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)
- Spain: 29 December 1978 (1978 Constitution)
- Peru: 1979 Constitution
- Belgium: 1981
- India: 28 March 1989 (61st Constitution Amendment Act, 1988 read with Act 21 of 1989)
- Switzerland: 1991 (from 20; referendum held on 3 March)
- Austria: 1992 (from 19; previous reductions were 21 to 20 in 1949 and 20 to 19 in 1970)
- Estonia: 29 July 1992 (from 22, according to the 1938 Constitution; was 18 during the Soviet Occupation since 1940 and 16 for the Congress of Estonia in 1990)
- Hong Kong: 1995 (from 21)
- Liechtenstein: 2000 (from 20; LGBl. 2000 No. 55)
- Jordan: July 2001 (from 19; Provisional Election Law No. 34/2001)
- Pakistan: 21 August 2002 (Legal Framework Order, 2002), was 18 under 1973 Constitution, then increased to 21, then lowered back to 18.
- Morocco: 11 December 2002 (from 20)
- Uzbekistan: July 2012 (from 25)
- Saudi Arabia: April 2015 (from 21)
- Japan: June 2016 (from 20)
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)
- Brazil: 5 October 1988 (Constitution of the Federative Republic of Brazil, 1988)
- Estonia: 24 February 1990 (from 22 according to the 1938 Constitution, from 18 during the Soviet occupation); only for the Congress of Estonia, was raised to 18 according to the 1992 Constitution
- Isle of Man: 11 July 2006; legislation brought into force in time for general election held on 23 November 2006
- 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)
- Ecuador: 28 September 2008 (New constitution accepted by referendum) for general election on 26 March 2009.
- Argentina: 1 November 2012. Voting for teenagers between 16 and 18 years of age became optional.
- Malta: 20 November 2013. Motion passed in parliament to lower the voting age to 16 at local council elections starting from 2015.
- Scotland: 18 September 2014. 16 & 17 years old were given the vote for the Independence Referendum. This will be extended permanently for the upcoming 2016 parliament election.
- Estonia: 6 May 2015 in local elections only.
Organizations in favour of lowering the voting age
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (November 2008) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
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
- Austrian Greens
- Social Democratic Party of Austria
- Liberales Forum
- vote4future.at Austrian National Youth Council
- New Democratic Party of Canada
- Communist Party of Canada
- Rock The Vote
- Parti Québécois
- Green Party of Canada
- Social Democrats
- Socialist People's Party
- The Danish Youth Council – Dansk Ungdoms Fællesråd, Denmark
- K.R.Ä.T.Z.Ä. (demanding abolition of any age-based voting restrictions)
- Foundation for the Rights of Future Generations (abolition)
- Green Party / Comhantas Glas
- Labour Party / Páirtí an Lucht Oibre 
- Sinn Féin
- Fine Gael
- Fianna Fáil
- Socialist Party 
- No political party had decreed that its members should all follow the party line about lowering voting age policy, resulting in public differences of view. Most parties had splits in their members and supporters, taking different sides.
- Malaysian civil societies' demands (to 18)
- Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH) (to 18)
- Barisan Nasional (stay at 21)
- United Malays National Organisation (stay at 21)
- Democratic Action Party (to 18)
- National Trust Party (to 18)
- Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (to 18)
- People's Justice Party (to 18)
- Socialist Party of Malaysia (to 18)
- Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia (to 18)
- Democratic Unionist Party
- The Labour Party including the former Prime Minister Gordon Brown
- Green Party of England and Wales
- Green Party of Northern Ireland
- Liberal Democrats
- Liberal Party
- Plaid Cymru
- Scottish Conservative Party
- Scottish National Party
- Social Democratic Labour Party
- Ulster Unionist Party
- Votes at 16
- Americans for a Society Free from Age Restrictions (supports full elimination of voting age)
- Future Voters of America
- National Youth Rights Association
- Socialist Party USA (to 15)
- "edoc11895" (PDF). Retrieved 6 January 2011.
- "Lowering the Minimum Voting Age to 18 Years - Pro and Con Arguments", Constitutional Revision Study Documents of the Maryland Constitutional Convention Commission, 1968. Retrieved 5 February 2007.
- Sanders, Mark (2000). Your Right To Vote. United State: Raintree Steck- Vaugh company.
- "Lower voting age welcome, but politics remains unappealing". Asahi Shimbun.
- Moosa, A.S.I. (1 April 2007). "The murderous dictator and the 'Bullet-Ballot' propaganda". Dhivehi Observer. Retrieved 6 July 2007.
- HeveeruOnline Committee supports lowering voting age to 18 for referendum Mar 20, 2007 Retrieved 8 March 2015
- 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.
- Worldwide Efforts to Lower the Voting Age, National Youth Rights Association
- Parliament of Canada, Bill C-261 (2005); Vote16, Canada
- Parliament of New South Wales, Parliamentary Electorates and Elections Amendment (Voting Age) Bill (2005); Hansard, 14 September 2005, p. 17686.
- "Austria lowers voting age to 16". EUX.tv — the Europe Channel, the Netherlands. 5 June 2007. Retrieved 6 June 2007.
- Wählen mit 16, Briefwahl, fünfjährige Gesetzgebungsperiode kommen, Republik Österreich Parlament (German). Retrieved 6 June 2007.
- Austria joins the votes at 16 club, Votes at 16. Retrieved 6 June 2007.
- Lowering the Electoral Age, Austrian National Youth Council. Retrieved 6 June 2007.
- Elections, Demokratiezentrum Wien. Retrieved 6 June 2007.
- Committee on Rights of Child Considers Second Periodic Report of Austria, UNHCHR, 14 January 2005.
- Oleksyn, Veronika (12 January 2007). "Austrians split on voting at age 16 plan". AP/washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2 February 2007.
- "Austria lowers voting age". IOL, South Africa. 14 March 2007. Retrieved 30 March 2007.
- "Austria lowers voting age to 16". News 24, South Africa. 3 May 2007. Retrieved 6 May 2007.
- 94 d.B. (XXIII. GP) Bundesverfassungsgesetz, mit dem das Bundes-Verfassungsgesetz geändert wird, Republik Österreich Parlament (German).
- Verfassungsausschuss gibt grünes Licht für Wahlrechtsreform, Republik Österreich Parlament (German). Retrieved 25 May 2007.
- Wahlrechtsreform 2007 passiert den Bundesrat, Republik Österreich Parlament (German). Retrieved 30 June 2007.
- 31/BNR (XXIII. GP) Bundes-Verfassungsgesetz, ss. 1, 5 and 25, Republik Österreich Parlament (German). Retrieved 1 July 2007.
- smells14.htm#91215-14_time0 HC Deb, 15 December 1999, Vol. 341, cc. 305-338. Retrieved 3 November 2007.
- smells14.htm#91215-14_time0 HC Deb, 15 December 1999, Vol. 341, c. 336. Retrieved 3 November 2007.
- "'A real chance to improve British Politics' - Votes at 16 Campaign Launches". Votes at 16. 29 January 2003. Retrieved 3 November 2007.
- The Voting Age (Reduction to 16) Bill (HL).
- Age of Electoral Majority, Electoral Commission, 19 April 2004, para. 8.16
- "Political system faces 'meltdown'". BBC News. 27 February 2006. Retrieved 3 November 2007.
- "And so does Gordon Brown". Votes at 16. 27 February 2006. Retrieved 3 November 2007.
- The Governance of Britain, UK Ministry of Justice, 3 July 2007, para. 190. Retrieved 5 July 2007.
- HC Deb, 3 July 2007, Vol. 462, c. 819. Retrieved 5 July 2007.
- "'Vote at 16' move backed by SNP". BBC News. 27 October 2007. Retrieved 3 November 2007.
- "Young people are gathering at Parliament furious at not being given the vote". 2016-06-24. Retrieved 2016-06-25.
- Bloom, Dan (2016-06-24). "Young voters wanted Brexit the least - and must live with it the longest". Retrieved 2016-06-25.
- "The Guardian". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 2016-06-25.
- Macdonnell, Hamish (17 September 2011). "16-year-olds likely to get the vote on Union split". The Times Scotland. London: Times Newspapers Limited. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
- "Scottish independence: Referendum voting age bill approved by MSPs". BBC News. 27 June 2013. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
- "Cut in Scottish voting age passed unanimously". BBC News. 18 June 2015. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
- "Teenagers vote in Manx election". BBC News. 13 July 2006. Retrieved 9 May 2007.
- Vote P63/2007, States of Jersey, 4 July 2007. Retrieved 6 July 2007.
- States of Jersey Minutes, 26 September 2007. Retrieved 24 October 2007.
- ORDERS APPROVED AT THE PRIVY COUNCIL HELD BY THE QUEEN AT BUCKINGHAM PALACE ON 12 December 2007, Privy Council Office, 20 December 2007. Retrieved 15 January 2008.
- Public Elections (Amendment No. 2) (Jersey) Law 2008, Jersey Legal Information Board. Retrieved 15 January 2008.
- Public Elections: reduction in voting age to 16, States of Jersey, 15 May 2007. Retrieved 6 July 2007.
- Public Elections (Amendment No. 2) (Jersey) Law 2007 (Appointed Day) Act 2008, Jersey Legal Information Board. Retrieved 13 April 2008.
- "'Give our young people a voice'". The Guernsey Press and Star. 18 September 2007. Retrieved 23 September 2007.
- Billet d'État XXII 2007 (October) & Resolutions, States of Guernsey. Retrieved 20 December 2007.
- "Too young at 16 to vote – deputy". The Guernsey Press and Star. 2 November 2007. Retrieved 3 November 2007.
- "16 Year Olds Can Vote in General Election". States of Guernsey — The Official Guernsey Government Website. 19 December 2007. Retrieved 15 January 2008.
- Steinborn, Jeff. "House Bill 138, 52ND LEGISLATURE - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - SECOND SESSION, 2016" (PDF). New Mexico Legislature. New Mexico Legislature. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
- "FairVote.org - 17-year-old Primary Voting". FairVote.
- "Transcript of the Constitution of the United States - Official Text". archives.gov.
- "Green Platform". Mainegreens.org.
- "Three Massachusetts Senator Candidates Support Lower Voting Age". Lowerthevote.wordpress.com. 30 November 2009. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
- Powers, Lindsay A. (14 May 2013). "Takoma Park grants 16-year-olds right to vote". WashingtonPost.com.
- "The 26th Amendment". A&E Television Networks. 1996. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
- "Iran raises voting age to 18". Iran Focus. 14 January 2007. Retrieved 4 February 2007.
- "Bill may lower voting age to 15". Press TV. 2 May 2007. Retrieved 6 May 2007.
- "President planning to lower voting age". Press TV. 23 September 2007. Retrieved 23 September 2007.
- "Swiss canton drops voting age to 16". AP/International Herald Tribune Europe. 6 May 2007. Retrieved 9 May 2007.
- "Glarus lowers voting age to 16". 24 Heures. 7 May 2007. Retrieved 9 May 2007.
- Bradford launches Bill to lower voting age to 16, Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand, 21 June 2007. Retrieved 2 July 2007.
- "Green MP abandons voting age bill". Radio New Zealand News. 26 July 2007. Retrieved 26 July 2007.
- Morgan, Jeremy (9 September 2007). "Further details of Chavez' package of constitutional reforms are emerging". Caracas Daily Journal. Retrieved 29 July 2007.
- Walter, Matthew (11 October 2007). "Venezuela May Lower Voting Age, Add Gay Rights in Constitution". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved 13 October 2007.
- "ACT to consider lowering voting age". ABC News (Australia). 26 September 2007. Retrieved 29 July 2007.
- "Comparative Data —". aceproject.org.
- Posted on Monday, 9 May 2011 (9 May 2011). "Local News » Cabinet approves reducing voting age to 18". Gulf Daily News. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
- Wahlrecht Wikipedia German Wikipedia article containing all references for each state. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
- 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).
- "Iran: Council of Ministers Approves Lowering Voting Age". Library of Congress. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- "Voting Age back to 18". Jame Jam Online.
- "Voting Age". Khabar Online.
- "NK constitute law". Unibook.unikorea.go.kr. 8 October 2010. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
- "NA panel lowers voting age to 18". kuwaittimes.net. 18 January 2012. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
- "Lebanon shoots down bill to lower voting age". Middle-east-online.com. 22 February 2010. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
- "Militares y policías podrán votar en las próximas elecciones". terra. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
- "Constitution of the Republic of Serbia". srbija.gov.rs. Retrieved 5 March 2007.
- Inter-Parliamentary Union. "IPU PARLINE database: SEYCHELLES (National Assembly), Full text". Ipu.org. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
- "Legislators mull lowering voting age". Taipei Times. 8 January 2013. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
- Inter-Parliamentary Union. "IPU PARLINE database: TUNISIA (Al-Majlis Al-watani Al-Taasisi ), Electoral system". Ipu.org. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
- (Ukrainian) Перший крок до зриву виборів (The first step to disrupt the elections), Ukrayinska Pravda (9 April 2012)
- "Suffrage". www.cia.gov. 2009. Retrieved 26 November 2009.
- Inter-Parliamentary Union (16 February 2011). "IPU PARLINE database: UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (Majlis Watani Itihadi), Electoral system". Ipu.org. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
- "Comparative Data —". aceproject.org.
- The Constitution of the Republic of Turkey, Article 67
- "Encyclopedia of the Nations, Turkey". Nationsencyclopedia.com. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
- Horrell, Muriel. A Survey of Race Relations in South Africa, 1957–1958 (PDF). South African Institute of Race Relations. p. 10. Retrieved 28 June 2011.
- "Young Canadians and the Voting Age: Should It Be Lowered?". [Canadian Policy Research Networks (CPRN)]]. 2005. Retrieved 5 February 2007.
- "Canadian History 1900–1999". Canadian History Directory. 1 January 2007. Retrieved 5 February 2007.
- "Elections Canada On-Line". Elections.ca. 14 June 2010. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
- Elections Manitoba Archived 28 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
- "The Canadian Encyclopedia, Nova Scotia". Canadianencyclopedia.ca. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
- "Elections British Columbia". Elections.bc.ca. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
- "(missing)". Webcitation.org. Archived from the original on 25 October 2009. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
- Title 3, 84 Stat. 318, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1973bb.; text reproduced in Oregon v. Mitchell, 400 U.S. 112, 223
- "Suffrage Jr". Time. 16 August 1943. Retrieved 5 February 2007.
- "Lowering the Minimum Voting Age to Eighteen Years - Pro and Con Arguments", Constitutional Revision Study Documents of the Maryland Constitutional Convention Commission, 1968. Retrieved 5 February 2007.
- Cheng, J. "The 'Qualified Voter' and the Minimum Voting Age" (PDF). Department of Political Science, University of Michigan. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 February 2006. Retrieved 5 February 2007.
- "HS Gallup: Little public support for reduction in voting age". Helsingin Sanomat International Edition — Metro. 11 January 2007. Retrieved 5 February 2007.
- "Sanasto". Eduskunta.fi. 1 March 2000. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
- "La Constitution du 4 Octobre 1958" (PDF)., Art. 3 and Le Code Civil francais, Art. 488
- Elections New Zealand, "The Right to Vote". Retrieved 5 February 2007.
- Encyclopedia of the Nations, New Zealand. Retrieved 6 February 2007.
- Important Dates in Dominica's History, Lennox Honychurch
- "folketinget.dk, "Representative democracy and referenda"". Folketinget.dk. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
- Maravall, J.M. (July 1979). "Political Cleavages in Spain and the 1979 General Election". Government and Opposition. 14 (3): 299–317. doi:10.1111/j.1477-7053.1979.tb00247.x. Retrieved 7 June 2007.
- Encyclopedia of the Nations, Belgium. Retrieved 6 February 2007.
- "Official Website of the Chief Electoral Officer, Delhi, FAQs Q21". Ceodelhi.nic.in. 28 March 1989. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
- swissworld.org, "The political system in Switzerland"Archived 1 January 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
- Spannring, Reingard. Orientations of Young Men and Women to Citizenship and European Identity: Workpackage 1 – Socio-demographic Background: Austria (PDF). Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna. Retrieved 9 May 2007.
- Eesti Nõukogude Sotsialistliku Vabariigi konstitutsioon (1940) (Estonian)
- Valmistumine Eesti Kongressi valimisteks (Estonian)
- Constitution of the Principality of Liechtenstein at the Wayback Machine (archived August 7, 2009), Art. 29 (2)|df=y
- The World of Parliaments, Quarterly Review No. 4, IPU, 2001. Retrieved 22 July 2007.
- Nadeem, M.; Laghari, J. Study of Pakistan Election System as "Intelligent e-Election". arXiv:.
- "SOUTH ASIA | Vote on Musharraf rule set for May". BBC News. 5 April 2002. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
- Encyclopedia of the Nations, Pakistan Retrieved 6 February 2007.
- "Morocco lowers voting age". BBC News. 11 December 2002. Retrieved 5 February 2007.
- "Minimum voting age in Japan dropped to 18". Asia News Network. 2016-06-19. Retrieved 2016-06-21.
- Bowman, K.; Lehoucq, F.; Mahoney, J. (2005). "Measuring Political Democracy: Case Expertise, Data Adequacy, and Central America" (PDF). Comparative Political Studies. 38 (8): 939–970 (Appendix C). doi:10.1177/0010414005277083. Retrieved 4 February 2007.
- "MacroHistory: Prehistory to yesterday: The Sandinista Revolution". Retrieved 12 January 2008.
- Federal Research Division, Library of Congress (April 1997). Brazil — a country study. Washington, D.C.: Federal Research Division, Library of Congress. p. 300. ISBN 978-1-57980-299-8.
- Representation of the People (Amendment) Act 2006, s. 4
- "Sin la oposición y en una sesión polémica, el kirchnerismo convirtió en ley el voto joven en Diputados". lanacion.com.ar.
- "Motion in parliament to lower local council elections voting age to 16". Times of Malta.
- "Front for Victory official site (spanish)".
- "× SPÖ - Sozialdemokratische Partei Österreichs × Startseite". Spoe.at. 17 December 2010. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
- "Aktuelle Themen". Liberale.at. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
- Bundesjugendvertretung. ". Nationalratswahl 2006". vote4future.at. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
- "Open Vld en Groen willen stemrecht op 16 jaar". Het Laatste Nieuws. 5 May 2015.
- "VoteTO16 | Extending the Franchise for Better Democracy". Voteto16.ca. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
- "Le Parti Québécois présente une douzaine de propositions pour changer la politique" (Press release) (in French). Parti Québécois. 7 December 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2011.
L’abaissement de l’âge légal pour voter à 16 ans. (Lowering the legal voting age to 16 years)
- "Democratic renewal and proportional representation". Green Party of Canada. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
- "DUF - Dansk Ungdoms Fællesråd fremmer unges deltagelse - Dansk Ungdoms Fællesråd". Dansk Ungdoms Fællesråd.
- "K.R.Ä.T.Z.Ä. - Right to vote - Overview". En.kraetzae.de. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
- "FRFG-Intergenerational Justice - Children's Rights". Intergenerationaljustice.org. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
- "The youth must have a say (greek) (Ecologist Greens)". Ecogreens.gr. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
- "Labour Ireland - ''Local election voting age should be lowered to 16''". Labour.ie. 30 November 2008. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
- "A Programme For Socialist Change - SY Manifesto (p. 2)". Socialistparty.net. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
- "MPs split over lowering voting age to 18". The Star Online. 26 September 2015.
- "Tuntutan-Tuntutan PRU13 Masyarakat Sivil Malaysia". suaram.net.
- "Laporan Tribunal Rakyat Tentang Pilihan Raya ke-13 Malaysia" (PDF). bersih.org.
- "DAP Malaysia - Party Policies". dapmalaysia.org.
- "mykuasa.org - Amanah". mykuasa.org.
- "Resolusi Kongres Nasional Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) ke-18". partisosialis.org.
- "Change voting age to 18". theSundaily. 13 September 2010.
- "Venstre - Småbedrifter | Miljø | Velferd | Kunnskap". Venstre.no. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
- "Forside - Sosialistisk Venstreparti" (in Norwegian). Sv.no. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
- "Votul la 16 ani revine în discuție". Retrieved 20 June 2015.
- "Gorghiu insistă: vrea tinerii la vot de la 16 ani". Retrieved 20 June 2015.
- "Green Party - Greens back calls for votes at 16". greenparty.org.uk.
- David Proffitt. "The Liberal Party :: Government". liberal.org.uk.
- "Future Voters of America". Future Voters of America. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
- Hyde, Martin (2001). Democracy education and the Canadian voting age (Ph.D thesis). University of British Columbia.
- Folkes, Alex (January 2004). "The case for votes at 16". Representation. Taylor and Francis. 41 (1): 52–56. doi:10.1080/00344890408523288.
- Cowley, Philip; Denver, David (January 2004). "Votes at 16? The case against". Representation. Taylor and Francis. 41 (1): 57–62. doi:10.1080/00344890408523289.
- Melo, Daniela F.; Stockemer, Daniel (January 2014). "Age and political participation in Germany, France and the UK: a comparative analysis". Comparative European Politics. Palgrave Macmillan. 12 (1): 33–53. doi:10.1057/cep.2012.31. Abridged version (pdf).