voting age

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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.”

Full Article: Voting age could be cut to 16 before next general election, says senior Tory | London Evening Standard.

Kansas: House members weigh age requirements after teens run for governor | Topeka Capital-Journal

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.

Full Article: House members weigh age requirements after teens run for governor.

United Kingdom: Over-16s to get voting rights in some Welsh elections | The Guardian

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.

Full Article: Over-16s to get voting rights in some Welsh elections | Politics | The Guardian.

Virginia: Democrats Roll Out Voting Rights Agenda | Associated Press

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.”

Full Article: Democrats Roll Out Voting Rights Agenda | Virginia News | US News.

Taiwan: Voting age for referenda lowered to 18 | Taiwan News

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. 

Full Article: Taiwan's voting age for referendums lowered to 18 | Taiwan News.

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.”

Full Article: Vote 16 white paper out by March 2018, to open up elections for another 5,000 votes - The Malta Independent.

New York: As New York Votes, a Push to Allow 17-Year-Olds the Ballot Next | Gotham Gazette

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.

Full Article: As New York Votes, a Push to Allow 17-Year-Olds the Ballot Next.

United Kingdom: MPs to debate bill to reduce voting age to 16 | The Guardian

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.

Full Article: MPs to debate bill to reduce voting age to 16 | Politics | The Guardian.

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.

Full Article: Legislative overhaul 'will be required if 16 or 17-year-olds are elected mayors' - The Malta Independent.

Vermont: Meet the 13-year-old running for Vermont governor | Burlington Free Press

Whether by design or accident, Vermont’s founders imposed no age requirement on those who could run for governor of this state. Town officials in Vermont must be legal voters, meaning they have taken the voter’s oath and are at least 18 years old. No such requirement exists for Vermont’s highest office. The constitutional quirk paved the way for Ethan Sonneborn, 13, of Bristol, to announce this summer that he’s running for governor. Eligible candidates must have simply lived in Vermont for four years before the election — “which I’ve tripled, and then some,” said Sonneborn, a 13-year resident of Vermont. The youngest governor to lead Vermont was F. Ray Keyser, Jr., who was 34 years old when he took office in 1961, according to the state Archives and Records Administration. Sonneborn, who is starting eighth grade this fall at Mount Abraham Union Middle/High School, hopes to beat that record by a good 20 years. 

Full Article: Meet the 13-year-old running for Vermont governor.

Kansas: 16-year-old is running for Kansas governor seat | Kansas City Star

He won’t even be able to vote, but a 16-year-old Wichita high school student says he’s serious about his bid to run for governor of Kansas. Jack Bergerson has filed to run as a Democrat in the 2018 race for governor of Kansas, saying he wanted to give people another option, The Kansas City Star reported . And it doesn’t faze him that he won’t even be old enough to vote in the election. “Under Kansas law, there is no law governing the qualifications for governor, not one,” said Bryan Caskey, director of elections at the Kansas secretary of state’s office. “So there’s seriously nothing on the books that lays out anything, no age, no residency, no experience. Nothing.” When Bergeson, a junior at The Independent School in Wichita, found out about the lack of requirements, he thought, “Oh, I could do that.”

Full Article: 16-year-old is running for Kansas governor seat | Kansas City Star.

Editorials: Can Youth Suffrage Finally Become a Mainstream Issue in 2020? | Elizabeth King/Pacific Standard

Turning 18 is an exciting time for a lot of American teenagers: Once turned the age of majority, one is suddenly allowed to buy tobacco, enlist in the armed services, gamble, and, come election time, head to the polls and vote. And yet, maybe 18 shouldn’t be the franchise gatekeeper that it is: Teenagers under 18 are stakeholders in a variety of local and national issues (education, transportation, and labor rights, to name a few), as the past two years have shown. After the election of Donald Trump, teenagers in Washington, D.C., and the surrounding area walked out of school in November, and took to the streets to march. California high schoolers in Santa Barbara, Berkeley, Los Angeles, and San Diego staged similar walkouts, among other forms of peaceful protest. Those under 18 were unable to participate in politics at the ballot box because of their age, but advocates for youth suffrage hope this won’t always be the case, and are working to lower the voting age to 16. In a country where the president waxes political to a crowd of teenage Boy Scouts, politics are visibly changing the lives of American teens—and youth-suffrage activists are looking to maximize the opportunity to revive their cause.

Full Article: Can Youth Suffrage Finally Become a Mainstream Issue in 2020? - Pacific Standard.

Oregon: Legislature OKs letting 16-year-olds pre-register to vote | KTVZ

Oregon continues to lead the way in expanding voter access with the passage Monday of Senate Bill 802 which gives 16-year-olds the ability to pre-register to vote. Under current Oregon law, an otherwise qualified person who is at least 17 years of age may pre-register to vote. This legislation will lower that to age 16 so that Oregon is able to include, as part of the Motor Voter law, the nearly 20,000 16-year-olds who are licensed in Oregon every year. Without this change, it could take another eight years before those individuals again interact with the Department of Motor Vehicles and are automatically registered.

Full Article: Legislature OKs letting 16-year-olds pre-register to vote - KTVZ.

California: Assemblyman Evan Low Pushes to Lower State Voting Age to 17 | San Jose Inside

Evan Low knows about getting involved in politics at an early age. Elected to the state Assembly in 2014, he became the youngest Asian-American legislator in California’s history. Now he’s working to challenge another governmental age restriction: lowering the statewide voting age to 17. “I chair the elections committee,” Low (D-Campbell) told San Jose Inside. “My focus has been on the electoral process. As a millennial and a political science teacher, this issue is near and dear to me.”

Full Article: Assemblyman Evan Low Pushes to Lower State Voting Age to 17 | San Jose Inside.

Voting Blogs: California Leading the Way to Lower Voting Age to 17 | openDemocracy

In an effort to get more young people involved in the democratic process, many states are attempting lowering the voting age to 17 to get young people active. “A lot of young people last year wanted to make their voices heard but were unable to do so because the rules prevented them,” said Jonathan Brater of the Brennan Center for Democracy. Since 1971, the legal voting age in the United States has been 18, lowered from 21. Today like then, the numerous states across the U.S are attempting to lower the voting age in the General Election to 17 tend to have strong Democratic majorities in their State senators and House legislatures. Among them, California, Minnesota, and Nevada are the most prominent states in this effort, with California leading the way. If constitutional amendment 10 passes in California, 17-year old’s, would be allowed to vote in the general election during a Presidential election.

Full Article: California Leading the Way to Lower Voting Age to 17.

Malaysia: Group bids to drop voting age to 18 | Malay Mail

A group of youths have started a campaign to lower the eligible voting age from 21 to 18 years old, saying young adults were the largest age group in the country. Calling themselves Undi18, the six youths kicked off a signature campaign last Saturday to generate support for their call to give young Malaysians a bigger say in the country’s direction. “As of now, we have several hundred signatories for the petition, but ideally, we are looking at between 5,000 and 10,000 petitioners in the next five months before we submit it to the Prime Minister’s Office,” director of Undi18, Tharmelinggem Pillai told Malay Mail Online. Although conceding it was unlikely that an amendment to Article 119(1) of the Federal Constitution to lower the voting age can be done in time for the next general election, he said the group was hoping for this to occur by the 15th general election.

Full Article: Group bids to drop voting age to 18 | Malaysia | Malay Mail Online.

California: Lawmakers look to lower voting age | Associated Press

Donald Trump’s characterization of Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists during his presidential campaign angered Heidi Sainz, whose family is from Mexico and who has close friends who are immigrants. She was also upset that she couldn’t do anything about it at the ballot box because she was a year shy of being able to vote. Sainz favors a bill in the California Legislature that would lower the voting age to 17, which she thinks would give a voice to more people affected by the outcome of elections. “Looking at all the protests throughout this year throughout all the high schools across the nation, we could see a lot of the minors were protesting because they felt as if they didn’t have a voice,” said Sainz, a senior at Inderkum High School in Sacramento.

Full Article: California lawmakers look to lower voting age.

Voting Blogs: Get them while they’re young California 16- and17-year-olds can now pre-register online | electionlineWeekly

According to a study by the Pew Research Center, 92 percent of teens report going online daily — including 24 percent who say they go online “almost constantly.” With that in mind, California is bringing Muhammad to the mountain by allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote using the state’s online voter registration portal. “Online pre-registration will help more young people vote as soon as they are eligible. Whether they’re at school or at home or hanging out with friends, young Californians can pre-register to vote in just minutes in their smartphone, tablet or laptop,” said Secretary of State Alex Padilla. California is one of 10 states and the District of Columbia that allows 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote and also one of 34 states and the District of Columbia that allows people to register online to vote. As far as we know, it’s the only state that allows those pre-registrants to use the online portal. [Update: Massachusetts and Utah also allow pre-registrants to do so online. Thanks to our alert readers for letting us know!]

Full Article: electionlineWeekly.

Wisconsin: 17-year-olds voted illegally in Wisconsin primary | Associated Press

Dozens of 17-year-olds voted illegally across Wisconsin during last spring’s intense presidential primary, apparently wrongly believing they could cast ballots if they turned 18 ahead of the November general election, according to a new state report. Wisconsin Elections Commission staff examined voter fraud referrals municipal clerks said they made to prosecutors following the 2016 spring primary and general elections. The commission is set to approve the findings during a meeting Tuesday and forward a report to the Legislature.

Full Article: Report: 17-year-olds voted illegally in Wisconsin primary - StarTribune.com.