A state lawmaker from the Silicon Valley has reintroduced a constitutional amendment that would lower the California voting age to 17, betting that a larger Democratic majority in the Legislature this year will help his proposal reach the ballot. An amendment requires the approval of two-thirds of the state Assembly and Senate, and the approval of voters. Last year, a similar proposal from Democratic Assemblyman Evan Low of Campbell failed to reach the necessary margin of 46-24. This time around, there are more Democrats in the Assembly, Low spokeswoman Maya Polon said, adding that the legislation enjoys bipartisan support.
District of Columbia: D.C. Council declines to take up bill to lower voting age to 16 | The Washington Post
The D.C. Council indefinitely delayed action on legislation to lower the voting age to 16, dealing a blow to efforts to make the nation’s capital the first jurisdiction to allow minors to cast ballots in presidential contests. Lawmakers voted 7 to 6 to table the bill, imperiling its chances before an end-of-year deadline to pass legislation. The voting bill hit a setback after a pair of lawmakers who helped introduce the legislation — Trayon White Sr. (D-Ward 8) and Anita Bonds (D-At Large) — flipped positions and declined to vote for it. … Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) had backed the proposal but distanced herself from the measure before the vote.
The D.C. Council Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety passed the bill to lower the voting age to 16 in D.C. with a unanimous 3-0 vote Thursday. With Committee approval, the bill will now be placed on the agenda of the Nov. 13 City Council Legislative Meeting, where it will be voted on by the full council. Vote16DC, a coalition of youth, adult allies, and organizations that support granting voting rights to 16- and 17-year-olds in the District, has spent months leading up to this committee vote mobilizing community support and educating Councilmembers on the merits of lowering DC’s voting age to 16.
Malaysia: Proposal to lower voting age, automatic voter registration agreed to in principal by political parties | New Straits Times
The proposal to lower voting age from 21 years to 18 and automatic voter registration were principally agreed by political parties from both divides today. The Election Commission (EC) chairman, Azhar Azizan Harun said 32 parties out 52 registered political parties in the country, had unanimously agreed to both proposals. The EC had earlier called the 32 political parties today for a closed-door meeting to discuss issues pertaining to voter registration. “There was no objection to the voting age limit from the political parties. “However there were several suggestions for the need for more data such as address and telephone numbers for the automatic registration,” he told reporters after the meeting at the EC headquarters here today.
The Malaysian Cabinet has decided to lower the voting age from 21 to 18. The decision was made at its weekly meeting on Wednesday (Sept 19), and work on amending the Federal Constitution will begin soon, said Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman. “One of the things to be done is to work closely with the youth wings of opposition parties as a two-thirds majority is needed for laws to be amended,” he told reporters. “By the next general election, 18-year-olds can cast their votes, that is for certain,” he added.
The teenage voice in the state of Michigan could become more powerful if legislation recently introduced passes. The legislation, introduced by Sen. David Knezek (D–Dearborn Heights) and Rep. Yousef Rabhi (D–Ann Arbor) aims to lower the voting age to 16, which, if passed, would make Michigan the first state to expand voting rights to any state-elected office for this age demographic. Senate Bill 1064, Senate Joint Resolution T, House Bill 6183 and House Joint Resolution KK were introduced to provide a larger civic engagement platform for the increasing number of young people who are actively and aggressively participating in the political process.
Sixteen- and 17-year-olds in D.C. may become the youngest Americans eligible to vote in the 2020 presidential election. A bill backed by a majority of the members of the D.C. Council would lower the city’s voting age to 16. Takoma Park, Greenbelt and Hyattsville in Maryland have lowered the voting age to 16 and proponents in D.C. say the teenagers have become energized voting blocks in those communities (though they can only vote in municipal elections there). The D.C. measure would amend the city’s 1955 Election Code to allow 16- and 17-year-olds voting rights — and it makes no exception for presidential voting. It would also require every school in the city to provide its 16-year-old students a voter registration application.
In a recent media interview, Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad expressed support for the proposal to lower the voting age from 21 to 18. The right to vote is therefore a sacred and precious right in any democratic country. In Malaysia, the right to vote is guaranteed by the Federal Constitution. According to Article 119(1) of the Federal Constitution, a citizen who has reached 21 years old, resident in a particular election constituency and has been registered as a voter, is eligible and has the right to vote in any elections to the Dewan Rakyat or the State Legislative Assembly. According to reports, the Prime Minister stated that it is worthwhile to consider the proposal as the Government believes that people are now wiser and can make informed decisions.
The unprecedented outpouring of activism from students after the shooting at Marjorie Douglas Stoneman High School in Parkland, Fla., in February is the genesis for a bill introduced in the Legislature last week that would change the voting age in Michigan to 16. “We allow 16-year-olds to go off and get jobs and pay taxes, but we fail to allow them to exercise their voice come election time,” said Sen. David Knezek, D-Dearborn Heights. “Young people are setting aside their differences and identifying issues they think need to change. And they can do everything to get that change except vote.” The shooting at Parkland, which left 17 students and teachers dead, prompted multiple school walkouts and large demonstrations across the nation by students calling for more gun control.
Michigan’s voting age could be lowered to 16 if lawmakers pass a bill that was introduced this week. This bill, sponsored by Senator David Knezek and Representative Yousef Rabhi, follows an outpouring of teen advocacy after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School in Parkland, Florida in February. The legislators hope to give teenagers a voice in the political process– after all, they say, the political process impacts 16 year olds. “We allow 16-year-olds to go off and get jobs and pay taxes, but we fail to allow them to exercise their voice come election time,” Knezek told the Detroit Free Press. “Young people are setting aside their differences and identifying issues they think need to change. And they can do everything to get that change except vote.”
Canada: British Columbia’s Chief Electoral Officer suggests pre-registering 16-year-olds | Vancouver Sun
A report from the province’s Chief Electoral Officer is calling for 16- and 17-year-olds to be given the right to pre-register to vote, while also pitching a digitization of the voting process. The teens still wouldn’t be eligible to vote until they are 18, but they would be allowed to have their names added automatically to the voters list when they turn 18. Creating a system where voters can vote at any polling station and all votes are counted on election night is also proposed (PDF). The report suggests service to voters would be improved while making for more efficient staffing and close to real-time disclosure of voter participation data.
High school students marched to protest for gun control after the Parkland shooting in Florida and soon they might be marching straight to the voting booth in the nation’s capital. Washington is on track to become the first place in the country to allow people as young as 16 to vote in federal elections, including for president, as the nation glimpses the emerging political power of the generation that follows millennials. It’s part of a burgeoning movement in the U.S. and abroad as a growing number of cities and states consider ways to expand voting rights to younger people.
The debate over a lower voting age is heating up in South Korea, with the older and younger generations clashing ahead of upcoming local elections. Under current laws, South Koreans younger than 19 years of age can’t cast a vote, join a party or participate in election campaigns, while candidates have to be at least 25 years old. President Moon Jae-in proposed a constitutional reform bill last month that would lower the country’s voting age from 19 to 18 when passed. Since then, the issue of a lower voting age has dominated the political discourse, drawing both support and criticism.
When DC Council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6) introduced legislation in 2015 to lower the voting age to 16, he was pretty much laughed down. He recalled the skeptical questions: “‘How can you convince me that a 16-year-old is mature enough, smart enough, engaged enough?” The bill died in committee. When the proposal was reintroduced this week, a majority of council members signed on as co-sponsors and Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) expressed support. One reason for the different reception — and why the nationwide push for lowering the voting age has been reinvigorated — is the thoughtful and influential activism of young people following February’s mass school shooting in Parkland, Fla.
District of Columbia: Vote At 16? D.C. Bill Would Lower Voting Age For Both Local And Federal Elections | WAMU
A bill set to be introduced in the D.C. Council on Tuesday would lower the voting age for both local and federal elections from 18 to 16. Council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), who is introducing the bill, says that given all the other responsibilities 16-year-olds already have, they should also have the right to vote on who represents them. “At the age of 16, our society already gives young people greater legal responsibility. They can drive a car. They can work. Some are raising a family or helping their family make ends meet. They pay taxes,” he said in a statement. “And yet, they can’t exercise their voice where it matters most — at the ballot box.”
When you are an 18-year-old citizen in Korea, you can marry, obtain a driver’s license and become a public servant once passing the required state exam. You are also obliged to pay taxes on any income, and serve in the military if you are a man. But there’s one thing you cannot do ― vote. In Korea, 19 is the age when suffrage is given to vote for president, lawmakers, mayors, governors and other elected officials. For decades, there have been calls to lower the age to 18 to meet the age for other social rights and duties. The issue has re-emerged recently after President Moon Jae-in said he plans to include lowing the age of suffrage to 18 in his suggestions for constitutional revision. It has immediately drawn pros and cons, from both the civic and political sectors.
A bill will go before the Seanad today which could see the voting age in Ireland be reduced to 16-years-old. If the bill is passed, over 126,000 16 and 17-year-olds would be eligible to vote in the next local elections in 2019. Furthermore, no referendum would be required to reduce the age unless it was Dail or Presidential elections. The bill has been proposed and sponsored by Senators Fintan Warfield and Lynn Ruane.
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.
MPs are to debate a bill aiming to reduce the voting age to 16, with the cross-party supporters of the measure arguing it is a long-overdue idea which would boost involvement in politics. The proposal is a private member’s bill, introduced by Labour MP Jim McMahon, and thus has relatively little chance of finding enough parliamentary time to become law, not least as the government does not back the idea. But it has not just official support from Labour, but also backing from the Liberal Democrats, SNP, Plaid Cymru and Greens, with the hope that McMahon’s bill could further push the idea on to the political landscape. The bill, officially titled the representation of the people (young people’s enfranchisement and education) bill, will receive its second reading on Friday, the initial opportunity for MPs to debate an idea.
California: Lawmakers block effort to allow 17-year-olds to vote in California elections | Los Angeles Times
California lawmakers blocked an effort to allow 17-year-olds to vote in local and state elections. Assembly Constitutional Amendment 10, proposed by Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell), failed to gather a required two-thirds vote in the Assembly. The proposal aimed to promote early civic engagement. It would have made California the first state to allow 17-year-olds to vote in elections. “This is a bold idea. But bold ideas are required to make significant change,” Low said on the Assembly floor before the vote.
Malta: Legislative overhaul ‘will be required if 16 or 17-year-olds are elected mayors’ | The Malta Independent
In the hypothetical situation that a 16 or 17-year-old is elected as a local council mayor, changes will be required to existing legislation, according to Vote 16 committee chairperson Andrew Debattista. Yesterday morning, Parliamentary Secretary for Reform Julia Farrugia Portelli launched a consultation document on voting rights for 16-year-olds, called ‘Vote 16; Empowering Youth’. In the previous legislature, 16-year-olds voted in local council elections, and now there are plans to extend these rights to general elections and those for the European Parliament. The document also questions whether such youngsters could be allowed to contest local elections, with the possibility of becoming mayors if they have the highest number of votes.