Malta has become the second country in the European Union to lower the national voting age to 16. The revised voting age, down from 18, was cemented into law on Monday evening, with MPs voting unanimously in favour of a third reading of a Bill to amend the Constitution to that effect. 16- and 17-year-olds will now be able to cast a vote at national and European parliament elections, having been already granted that right for local council elections back in 2014. Their first opportunity to exercise this new right will come during the 2019 European Parliament elections, with the lowered voting age expected to add up to 8,500 votes to ballot boxes. Politicians from either side of the House were quick to celebrate the news on social media, with Prime Minister Joseph Muscat saying Malta had “made history, again” by passing the law.
In November 2013, voters in Takoma Park, Md., made history. The city became the first place in the United States to grant 16- and 17-year-olds the right to vote in local elections. Since then at least one other community — neighboring Hyattsville, another suburb of Washington, D.C. — has followed that example. Activists have been campaigning for that right in communities across the country, from Memphis to Fresno, Calif. Fifteen states now allow 17-year-olds to vote in primaries for elections that will be held after they turn 18. There are two good reasons to reduce the voting age. First, it is likely to help young people establish the habit of voting lifelong. Second, as my recently published research shows, it makes their parents more likely to vote as well.
The real adults in the room are the youth from Parkland, Florida, who are speaking out about the need for meaningful gun control laws. They are proving that civic engagement among young people can make a difference. The ironic part? They can’t even vote yet. Several municipalities in the United States allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in local elections. Takoma Park, Maryland, was the first city to lower the voting age, thanks mostly to the advocacy efforts of youth themselves who convinced the city council that they should have a voice in local governance. Other cities in Maryland, like Hyattsville and Greenbelt, have followed suit. Larger cities are also debating the measure: In 2016, Berkeley, California, voters agreed to lower the voting age to 16 for school board elections, while a ballot proposition in San Francisco to lower the voting age for all city elections narrowly lost. Advocates are likely to try again in San Francisco in 2020.
United Kingdom: Voting age could be cut to 16 before next general election, says senior Tory | Evening Standard
A historic lowering of the voting age from 18 to 16 could be enacted before the next general election, a senior Conservative predicted today. Sir Peter Bottomley said there was “growing” support among Tory MPs for the reform, which is currently opposed by Theresa May’s Government. “It’s a question of when rather than whether it is going to happen,” the former minister told the Standard. Asked if there was enough backing for it to be made law in the current Parliament, the veteran MP said: “I think it would probably carry. Labour would vote in favour of it, so would every minority party and a growing number of Conservatives support it.”
Six teenagers’ entrance into the race for Kansas governor has spurred action from lawmakers who would like to see only adults run for executive office. Current Kansas law doesn’t impose a minimum age requirement on candidates for statewide office. This past summer, Jack Bergeson, 16, of Wichita, discovered the lack of an age requirement. He decided to run for office — and he set a trend. Six teens are seeking the state’s top office, and another — Lucy Steyer, of Lenexa — is running for secretary of state. Consternation about the number of teens in already crowded 2018 races inspired a bill discussed Wednesday by the House Elections Committee that would set a minimum age of 18 for candidates running for governor, secretary of state, attorney general, state treasurer and state commissioner of insurance. Candidates for governor and lieutenant governor would also have to live in Kansas for four years before seeking office, but the bill wouldn’t take effect until after this fall’s election. The committee could vote Monday.
The Labour-controlled Welsh government also wants new voting methods introduced, including the chance to vote in places such as supermarkets, leisure centres and railway stations. Alun Davies, the cabinet secretary for local government and public services, said: “Local democracy is all about participation. We want to boost the numbers registered as electors, make it easier for people to cast their votes and give more people the right to take part.” Under the proposals to be announced this week, 16 and 17-year-olds would be given the right to vote in council elections, along with all foreign nationals legally resident in Wales.
Democratic legislators are pushing for a package of bills to make it easier for Virginians to vote, including proposals to let people register on Election Day and to cast an absentee ballot for any reason. Del. Debra Rodman of Henrico County has introduced a bill to would repeal the deadline for registering to vote before an election. Instead, eligible voters could register at any time, including the day of the election. “I am critically proud for this opportunity, all of these opportunities, that will allow Virginians true access to the ballot,” Rodman said. “Knowledge and access are imperative to the evolution of our democracy.”
As part of newly passed amendments to the Referendum Act (公民投票法), Taiwan’s voting age for referendums has officially been lowered to 18 years of age. The new law includes a provision that states, unless otherwise indicated in the constitution, Taiwanese citizens that have reached the age of 18 and are not under the care of a legal guardian, have the right to vote in referendums. One of the justifications listed for lowering the voting age in the amendment was the fact that over 90 percent of countries provide their citizens over the age 18 the right to vote in general elections. It also mentioned that neighboring Japan had lowered its voting age for general elections to 18 in 2014.
Malta: Vote 16 white paper out by March 2018, to open up elections for another 5,000 votes | The Malta Independent
The government will be presenting the white paper on Vote 16 by March of next year paving the way for a potential 5,000 new voters to have their say in upcoming elections. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat announced this while attending a student debate at the Giovanni Curmi Higher Secondary in Naxxar. The topic was Vote 16 and students were allowed to ask questions to the Prime Minister who was accompanied by Parliamentary Secretary for Reform Julia Farrugia Portelli and the Parliamentary Secretary for Youth Clifton Grima. The Prime Minister said that the vote for 16-year-olds is no longer an issue of whether it will happen or not, but how will it be implemented. “We have a mandate to do pass Vote 16 and we intend to keep our promise.”
On the eve of Election Day 2017, a state Assembly member from Brooklyn held a press conference focused on voter engagement and turnout, but it wasn’t in support of his own candidacy — he’s not up for reelection until next year — or anyone else’s. Instead, Assemblymember Robert Carroll was talking about his push to allow 17-year-olds to vote. In the state capital of Albany, Carroll recently introduced a bill, the Young Voter Act, that would allow 17-year-olds to cast ballots in state and local elections. The voting age is currently 18 for national elections and within New York. The legislation would also require that all students in public high schools receive at least eight hours of formal civics education, and that schools provide voter registration forms to students when they turn 17.