California would become the first state in the nation to allow 17-year-olds to vote in a general election under a proposed state constitutional amendment introduced this week by a Silicon Valley legislator. In 1971, 18-year-olds across the United States won the right to vote through the 26th Amendment. But the U.S. Constitution doesn’t prevent states from further lowering the voting age, notes the measure’s main sponsor, Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Cupertino. Allowing citizens to vote while they’re still in high school will help to establish their voting habits early, before their transition to college or work, argues Low, who heads the Assembly Committee on Elections and Redistricting.Full Article: California proposal would lower voting age to 17.
The political scandal that led to the suspension of President Park Gyun-hye is boosting political engagement among younger South Koreans, who are calling for voting rights. Many high school students throughout the country are politically energized these days, and they want more of a say. “We want to elect the country’s leader ourselves in order to create a better society for us all,” says a student at one protest. The corruption scandal involving the president and her long-time friend Choi Soon-sil has kept Boo Seok-woo busy with a youth group that’s engaged in social issues.Full Article: South Korean Teens Call for Voting Rights - Editor's Picks - News - NHK WORLD - English.
Malta: Labour Party still unsure on whether to extend general election voting rights to 16-year-olds | The Malta Independent
The Labour Party is still unsure on whether 16-year-olds will be granted the right to vote at the next general election, a statement issued by the National Youth Council (KNZ) said. The council asked all parties to say what their intentions are when the matter is brought to the vote. The Nationalist parliamentary group, as well as independent MP Giovanna Debono, informed the council that they shall be supporting the motion once it is tabled and a vote is a taken.Full Article: Updated: PL still unsure on whether to extend general election voting rights to 16-year-olds - KNZ - The Malta Independent.
The voting age is likely to be lowered to 18 for the 2017 presidential election. The New Conservative Party for Reform (NCPR), created by lawmakers who left the Saenuri Party, said Wednesday that it will seek to lower the voting age from 19 to 18 and apply it to the next election. With all three opposition parties supporting an increase in the number of eligible voters, there is a high possibility that the Election Law could be revised during an extraordinary session of the National Assembly in January. If revised, those who are 18, currently high school students, will be able to vote in the presidential election, which could take place earlier than scheduled.Full Article: Voting age likely to be lowered to 18.
“We shall lower the voting age to 18 before the next presidential election. Among OECD member states, Korea is the only nation stipulating voting rights at 19,” floor leader Rep. Woo Sang-ho said in a party meeting. The liberal party, the largest in South Korea’s unicameral parliament controlling 128 of the 300 seats, will push to revise the election law to lower the age limit and grant voting rights to compatriots living overseas, he said. Currently, 33 member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development grant suffrage to those 18 years and older, with Austria at the age of 16.Full Article: Opposition party pushes to lower voting age to 18.
Starting Jan. 1, 16 and 17-year-olds can pre-register to vote before they begin casting ballots at age 18. It’s just one of several changes to voter laws in the new year that aim to encourage citizen engagement and make voting more efficient. The first of the year also will see another law take effect that allows voters to head to their county’s election office on Election Day to register and vote. Currently, voters need to register about two weeks before the primary and general elections. “This creates a fail-safe for people who missed the 15 day deadline and still want to vote,” said Kim Alexander, the California Voter Foundation’s founder and president. Lawmakers passed the new same-day registration law in 2012, but it was placed on hold until the state certified the California voter registration database known as VoteCal. VoteCal was certified in the fall, so same-day registration — already in place in other states to boost voter participation — can now go forward.Full Article: Audio: More changes ahead for California voters in 2017 | 89.3 KPCC.
A non-binding plebiscite on electoral reform in Prince Edward Island has shown voters support a switch to a form of proportional representation. Mixed member proportional representation was the most popular option, drawing more than half of the votes after ballots were counted and redistributed five times according to the rules of preferential voting. Islanders were given five options to chose from, including an option to keep the current first-past-the-post system. Voters were asked to rank some or all of the options on a one-to-five scale. If no electoral system received more than half the votes, the option with the fewest votes was eliminated and those ballots redistributed to their second-choice option. That process was repeated until one option passed the 50 per cent threshold to achieve majority support.Full Article: P.E.I. Votes In Support Of New Provincial Electoral System.
Governor Christie on Thursday vetoed a pair of bills that sponsors said would make it easier to register to vote — for years a Democratic mission that has been rejected by the Republican governor over and over again. But this time Christie’s rejection of one of those bills featured a denouncement that echoes pronouncements by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, Christie’s personal friend. Rather than sign a bill that would automatically register voters as part of the driver’s license application and renewal process, Christie conditionally vetoed it and said it should be renamed “The Voter Fraud Enhancement and Permission Act.” He vetoed a similar measure last November, when it was included in a package of proposals dubbed the “Democracy Act.” At that time, Christie was running for president and wrote that the state “must ensure that every eligible citizen’s vote counts and is not stolen by fraud.” And in 2013, Christie vetoed a Democratic bill to expand early voting.Full Article: Christie rejects bill to automatically register voters - News - NorthJersey.com.
A new law sponsored by state Sen. Dan McConchie will allow young people to become involved in the election process sooner than they had been allowed to participate in the past. Under the law, signed last week by Gov. Bruce Rauner, individuals who will be 18 years old at the next election are now able to fully participate in the election process. “There’s no reason to say that 17-year-olds have the right to vote and prevent them from otherwise participating in the election process,” McConchie, R-Hawthorn Woods, said in a news release.Full Article: New Illinois law gives 17-year-olds more election, voting rights | Northwest Herald.
The Greek parliament last month (21 July) approved by a simple majority government’s proposed changes to the electoral system, with 179 votes in favor, 86 against, and 16 lawmakers abstaining. Among other provisions, Greek lawmakers decided to lower the voting age, allowing 17-year-olds to vote in the next general elections. According to the new electoral law, about 130,000 17-year-olds are expected to participate in the next national election. For the Syriza-led government, this move will enforce youth participation. But the opposition parties do not share such a view and believe that Greek premier Alexis Tsipras is trying to “cheat” young people. But the coalition government rejected the opposition’s proposal to grant voting rights for Greeks living abroad.Full Article: Greek government backs lower voting age but doesn’t offer expats vote – EurActiv.com.
Sunday marked the first Japanese national election in which the minimum voting age was lowered to 18 from 20. But the lackluster participation of the teens highlights the challenges political parties face in reaching out to youth. The turnout ratio for teenagers in the upper house election was 45.4%, compared with 54.7% for all age groups, according to the internal affairs ministry. A closer look at the teen voters shows that 18-year-olds had a much higher participation rate of 51.17% compared with the 39.66% for 19-year-olds. The former are often still in high school and thus have more opportunities to learn about voting rights in school, while the latter are often in college or working. The rate for 18-year-olds was higher than expected, said Kazunori Kawamura, associate professor at Tohoku University, while stressing a need for a mechanism to help keep them involved.Full Article: Connecting with Japan's teen voters looms as hurdle amid low turnout- Nikkei Asian Review.
Mena Hakamada, an 18-year-old college freshman, knows how important it is to vote. “To reflect our opinions, the only way is to vote,” said Ms. Hakamada, a physical education major at the University of Tsukuba. But Ms. Hakamada will not cast a ballot on Sunday, in the first national election in which Japanese 18- and 19-year-olds are allowed to vote. “I am busy tomorrow,” she said with a shake of her head. Ms. Hakamada is going on a field trip to the ocean, and she never got around to voting by absentee ballot in her hometown, Shizuoka, near Mount Fuji. When Japan goes to the polls to elect members to its upper house of Parliament on Sunday, the nation’s newly enfranchised teenagers are expected to make a lackluster showing.Full Article: Teenagers in Japan Can Finally Vote. But Will They? - The New York Times.
A 19-year-old Japanese college student joined others casting a historic first ballot at a polling station earlier this week. Then he wondered if he had spent enough time looking into the candidates. Kouki Nozomuto, who used an early voting system in Yokohama for those who are busy on election day, is among 2.4 million newly eligible voters for Sunday’s race for the upper house of parliament, the first national election since Japan lowered the voting age last year from 20 to 18. “I thought I’ll just go in between classes, so I think maybe I should have spent more time (to prepare),” he said afterward, saying he came because he thinks it’s a citizen’s duty to vote and he wants his voice to be heard. “On reflection, that’s what I think I should have done better.”Full Article: Japan lowers voting age, but are young ready to vote? - HeraldCourier.com: World.
Japan: To Inspire Young Voters, Japan Tries Comics, Teen Models and a Talking Grain of Rice | Wall Street Journal
To persuade 18- and 19-year-olds to head to the polls for the first time this weekend, officials in Japan have launched marketing campaigns starring a series of ambassadors they believe will play to the budding democratic instincts of the country’s youth. They include a male model and his platinum-haired sweetheart, a lovelorn comic-book character and a talking grain of rice. The opposition Democratic Party hopes to increase turnout by inviting actual young people—in fact, teen models—to talk sessions with lawmakers where they chat about the latest cellphone apps and gossip about romance between members of parliament. At a recent event, participants suggested free ice cream and more shelters for abandoned pets as policies they wanted the government to adopt. “These models have a lot of big fans, and these events might be an opportunity to make those fans think that politics is actually a part of their lives and that they should vote,” said Democratic Party lawmaker Akihiro Hatsushika. Japan, which has the oldest population of any country on Earth, has good reason to want to get its young people engaged in politics. While most elderly Japanese vote, only about a third of people in their 20s voted in a lower house election in late 2014, when overall turnout hit an almost record low. The law to lower the voting age was passed last year. Nearly two-thirds of 18- and 19-year-olds say they aren’t affiliated with either of the two biggest political parties, according to a survey conducted in June by Asahi Shimbun.Full Article: To Inspire Young Voters, Japan Tries Comics, Teen Models and a Talking Grain of Rice - WSJ.
A bill to allow 17 year-olds to vote in primary elections as long as they will reach the age of majority by election day passed in the state Senate Monday, and will head to Christie’s desk. Under current state law, 17 year-olds can register to vote before their eighteenth birthday, but not vote in state primaries. The bill advanced by a 31-8 margin. Though the bill could face opposition from Governor Chris Christie, who has called other bills aiming to boost voter turnout political ploys or invitations to voter fraud in the past, Senate sponsors Nia Gill (D-34) and James Beach (D-6) argue that it would be only fair to make sure young voters are not denied participation in selecting which candidate gets onto the ballot.Full Article: Youth Voting Bill Clears Senate, Heads to Christie’s Desk | New Jersey News, Politics, Opinion, and Analysis.
If you’re a teenager looking to be involved in politics, this is your lucky year. The Guam Legislature recently passed Substitute Bill No. 279-33, which grants individuals who are 17 on the date of a primary election the ability to vote in that primary, as long as the individual will be 18 on the date of the general election that immediately follows. “I think this bill is a great idea,” says Shania Spindel, a Guam Youth Congress representative. “It will be our generation that will be experiencing what the next representatives have to offer.” The new bill will be applied to Guam’s upcoming primary on Aug. 27.Full Article: Small change, big impact: Some 17-year-olds can vote.
Teenage voters cast ballots as early voting began Thursday across Japan for the first national election since the minimum voting age was lowered to 18 from 20. Chiho Tatsumi, an 18-year-old high school student, is believed to be the first teenage voter to cast a ballot for the July 10 House of Councilors election. Tatsumi, who voted shortly after 6:30 a.m. at an early voting station in Mino, Osaka Prefecture, before going to school, told reporters, “If I got the right to vote but did not go to vote, that would not make sense,” adding she hoped her friends also participate in the voting.Full Article: First teens cast ballots as early voting starts for Upper House election | The Japan Times.
Japan’s parliamentary election campaign kicked off Wednesday as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling party seeks a mandate for his economic policies amid opposition criticism that the lives of the ordinary people are not improving. As more than 380 candidates took to the streets across the nation, pleading for votes from vans outside train stations and shopping arcades, Abe opened the campaign with a pledge to proceed with his “Abenomics” plan to revive the economy and pull the country out of a slump. “The biggest topic of this election is economic policies,” Abe told a crowd in Kumamoto, a southern city struck by deadly earthquakes in April. “This is an election in which we decide whether to return to that dark doldrums or not.” Up for grabs in the July 10 vote are 121 seats, or half of the seats in Parliament’s less powerful upper house.Full Article: Japan election campaign kicks off, Abe pushes economic plan - The Washington Post.
A revised election law lowering the minimum age to vote in Japan to 18 from 20 took effect Sunday, in a change that will be applied to the upcoming House of Councillors election. The change means approximately 2.4 million new voters aged 18 and 19 joined the electorate in a reform to better reflect young people’s opinions in politics. There were about 104.2 million voters as of the last national poll—a House of Representatives election in December 2014. Amendments to the Public Offices Election Law changed the voting age for the first time in 70 years, or since 1946 when the minimum voting age was lowered to 20 from 25. People who will be 18 by July 11, the day after the July 10 upper house election, will be able to vote in that poll.Full Article: Revised election law lowering voting age in Japan to 18 takes effect ‹ Japan Today: Japan News and Discussion.
“Elections are exciting!” proclaims “election visualist” Garei Zamamiya in an interview with Weekly Playboy (June 20). A lot of people will be surprised to hear that. If Japanese election campaigns were as exciting as they are noisy, it would be a different story, but everyone knows they’re not, with debate dumbed down to imbecility and outcomes largely foregone conclusions. Zamamiya may have a point, however, with reference to the Upper House election slated for July 10. Two factors set it apart. One is a question of some urgency: Will the governing coalition led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe procure a two-thirds majority enabling it to revise the Constitution?Full Article: Mobilizing 18- and 19-year-old voters a challenge ‹ Japan Today: Japan News and Discussion.