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).
Most countries have set a minimum voting age, often set in their constitution.
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. 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.
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 16 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 Representation of the People Act 1969 lowered the voting age from 21 to 18. This became effective from 1970 and remained in force until the Scottish Independence Referendum Act 2013 which allowed 16 year olds to vote for the first time, but only in Scotland and only in that particular referendum. The Scottish Parliament reduced the voting age to 16 for its own and Scottish local elections in 2015.
Men in military service who turned 19 during the first world war were entitled to vote in 1918 irrespective of their age as part of the Representation of the People Act 1918 which also allowed some women over the age of 30 to vote. The Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act 1928 brought the voting age for women down to 21.
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.
In December 2014, Labour announced that it would support the policy if it won an overall majority in the 2015 general election.
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.
In June 2015, the Scottish Parliament voted unanimously to reduce the voting age to 16 for Scottish Parliament elections and Scottish local government elections.
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. 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.
In 2013, the City of Takoma Park, Maryland became the first place in the United States to lower its voting age to 16, for municipal elections and referendums.
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 United States involvement in the Vietnam War#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. As of 1968, several states had already allowed people younger than 21 years to vote: Alaska and Hawaii's minimum age was 20, Kentucky's was 19, and Georgia's was 18. 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.
On 6 May 2007, the Swiss Canton of Glarus voted to reduce the voting age from 18 to 16 for cantonal and local elections.
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
- 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: 12
- 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)
- 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 (4th Amendment of the Constitution). Women under 30 gained the vote in local elections in 1935 and in Dáil elections and referendums in 1922 (Constitution of the Irish Free State). The only popular election (in 1925) to the Free State Seanad had a voting age of 30. (See also History of the franchise in 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
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
- The Greens – The Green Alternative
- Liberal Forum
- Social Democratic Party of Austria
- vote4future.at Austrian National Youth Council
- Foundation for the Rights of Future Generations
- K.R.Ä.T.Z.Ä. (demanding abolition of any age-based voting restrictions)
- Fianna Fáil
- Fine Gael
- Green Party / Comhantas Glas
- Labour Party / Páirtí an Lucht Oibre
- Sinn Féin
- Socialist Party
In 2013, the Constitutional Convention was asked to consider reducing the voting age to 17 and recommended lowering it to 16. The then government agreed to hold a referendum, but in 2015 postponed it indefinitely to give priority to other referendums.
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)
- Democratic Action Party (to 18)
- National Trust Party (to 18)
- Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (to 18)
- Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia (to 18)
- Parti Sosialis Malaysia (to 18)
- People's Justice Party (to 18)
- Barisan Nasional (stay at 21)
- United Malays National Organisation (stay at 21)
- Democratic Unionist Party
- The Labour Party including the former Prime Minister Gordon Brown
- Green Party of England and Wales
- Green Party in 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
- Rock the Vote
- 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.
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- 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.
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