Countries with a Voting Age under Eighteen

Age 16 Austria, Bosnia1, Brazil2, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey, Nicaragua3, (for local elections: Germany, Switzerland)
Age 17 East Timor4, Indonesia5, Sudan6, Seychelles7, (for local elections: Israel) (for some primaries: United States)

US States That Allow People Under 18 to Vote in Primaries

  • Delaware 8
  • Indiana 9
  • Iowa (Caucus Only)10
  • Kansas (Caucus Only)11
  • Kentucky 12
  • Maine 13
  • Maryland 14
  • Mississippi 15
  • Nebraska 16
  • North Carolina 17
  • Ohio 18
  • Virginia 19

Movements to Lower the Voting Age in the United States

  • Alaska:
    • (2003)- Youth Civic Rights Movement proposes a ballot measure for a voting age of sixteen for Anchorage (Proposal failed by a single vote). 20
  • Arizona:
    • (2008)- Constitutional Amendment introduced by Rep. Ed Ableser, D-Tempe would lower the voting age in the state to 16. (Proposal pending).21
  • California:
    • (1995)- State Senator Jackie proposes a voting age of fourteen. (Proposal did not pass a committee).22
    • (2004)- State Senator John Vasconcellos proposes one-quarter vote for fourteen year-olds and one-half vote for sixteen year-olds.23 (Proposal passed first committee, but did not reach the full legislature).
    • (2005)- The National Youth Rights Association’s Berkeley, California and Berkeley City Council Member Kriss Worthington propose a voting of sixteen for Berkeley elections (Proposal failed by one vote because of three abstentions).
    • (2005)- NYRA-Berkeley and Bay area supporters sought to lower the voting age to 16 in San Francisco. (Proposal failed).
  • Florida:
    • (2003)- High school student Miranda Rosenberg sought to get a proposal to lower the voting age to 16 on the state ballot.24 (Rosenberg did not obtain enough signatures to put proposal on the ballot).
  • Illinois:
    • (2008)- State Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie introduced a state Constitutional Amendment to lower the state voting age to 17. 25 (Proposal passed committee 5-3, going to full House).
  • Maine:
    • (2004)- Several Maine legislators proposed a bill to lower the voting age to 17. (Proposal failed, but compromise to allow 17 year-olds to vote in primary election if 18 by general election passed).26
  • Massachusetts:
    • (2002)- Cambridge City Council members pass a voting age of 17 for municipal elections. Initially supported by teens from the Campaign for a Democratic Future, the effort was taken up by the Cambridge Kid’s Council in 2004 (Proposal passed but awaits approval from the state legislature).
    • (2007)- In August, students at Harwich High School began a campaign to get a 16-year-old voting age on the ballot in Massachusetts. (Proposal fails after failing to get 66,593 by December 5). 27
    • (2010)- Young people from the United Teen Equality Center undertook a campaign to lower the voting age to 17 for local elections in Lowell, MA.(City Council voted 8-1 in favor of sending a Homerule Petition to the state legislature. Proposal currently pending in the legislature). 28
  • Maryland:
    • (2003)- Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon proposed the municipal voting age be permanently lowered to 16. (Proposal still being considered) 29
    • (2003-2004)- NYRA’s Washington D.C. Chapter sought to put a referendum to lower the Voting Age in Tacoma Park to 16 on the ballot. (Proposal fails because not enough signatures were obtained).
  • Minnesota:
    • (1989)- Representative Phyllis Kahn proposes a voting age of twelve. (Proposal did not pass committee)30
    • (2004)- State Representative Steve Kelley proposes a voting age of 17. (Proposal passed committee, but did not pass the legislature).31
    • (2007)- State Representative Phyllis Kahn proposes a voting age of 16. (Did not pass).32
  • New York:
    • (2005)- Future Voters of America and Councilwoman Gale Brewer, introduce a bill to lower the city voting age to 16. (Hearing has not been held yet).33
  • Texas:
    • (2001)- State Representative Ron Wilson proposed lowering the state’s voting age to 14. (Proposal did not pass committee).34
    • (2003)- State Representative Ron Wilson proposed lowering the state’s voting age to 16. (Proposal did not pass committee).
  • Washington:
    • (2005)- NYRA-Olympia members and three state legislators proposed a bill to amend the constitution to lower the voting age to 16. (Committee Hearing has occurred but no vote yet held).
    • (2011)- NYRA-Seattle members persuaded Washington State Senator Scott White to introduce legislation to lower the voting age to 17 for school board elections in the state.35 (The bill is currently waiting for a hearing to be held).

Movements to Lower the Voting Age Abroad

  • Austria
    • (2007)- Bill introduced to lower national voting age to 16. 36(Passed March 14, 2007).37
  • Canada
    • (2005)- Liberal Party Member of Parliament Mark Holland has introduced a bill to lower the voting age to sixteen for federal Canadian elections. The bill is being co-sponsored by members of the three other major political parties.38 (Proposal defeated June 8, 2005).39
  • Germany
    • (2003)- Several German politicians proposed the concept of a “family vote,” which would theoretically eliminate the voting age altogether. Parents would hold and cast the vote their child’s vote until the child turned twelve, after which the child could demand the vote back. 40 (Did not pass).
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
    • (2008)- Several communities in Norway have applied to the government to allow 16-year-olds to vote in local elections – and the minister in charge is looking positively on the idea. (Pending).43
  • South Africa
    • (1994)- Nelson Mandela proposed a voting age of 14 in recognition of youth action in the fight against Apartheid. 44 (Proposal did not pass).
  • Switzerland
    • (2007)- Glarus, a canton in central Switzerland, lowered its local voting age to 16 in May. 45 (Proposal passed).
    • (2008)- Bern, the Swiss canton where the national capitol, Bern is located, is considering lowering its voting age to 16. 46 (Proposal should be voted on in 2008).
  • United Kingdom:
    • (2003-2011)- Several organizations, including Votes At 16, the Electoral Reform Society and the National Union of Students have to lower the voting age to sixteen. Additionally, the proposal is being supported by the United Kingdom’s third largest party, the Liberal-Democrats, the Scottish National Party, and many members of the Labour Party including former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.4748(The campaign is ongoing).
    • (2006)- British Crown Dependency, Isle of Man, lowers its voting age to 16. (Proposal Passed). 49
    • (2007)- British Crown Dependency, Jersey, lowers its voting age to 16. (Proposal Passed). 50
    • (2007)- British Crown Dependency, Guernsey, lowers its voting age to 16. (adopted on 31 October 2007, sanctioned on 12 December and registered and coming into force on 19 December). 51

Sources

  1. Ministers contemplate cut in voting age to 16,” Times Online, February 14, 2003
  2. Ministers contemplate cut in voting age to 16,” Times Online, February 14, 2003
  3. Ministers contemplate cut in voting age to 16,” Times Online, February 14, 2003
  4. Ministers contemplate cut in voting age to 16,” Times Online, February 14, 2003
  5. Ministers contemplate cut in voting age to 16,” Times Online, February 14, 2003
  6. Ministers contemplate cut in voting age to 16,” Times Online, February 14, 2003
  7. Ministers contemplate cut in voting age to 16,” Times Online, February 14, 2003
  8. Delaware Voting Age.Youth Rights Network. (accessed March 3, 2008).
  9. Indiana Voting Age.Youth Rights Network. (accessed March 3, 2008).
  10. Iowa Voting Age.Youth Rights Network. (accessed March 3, 2008).
  11. Kansas Voting Age.Youth Rights Network. (accessed March 3, 2008).
  12. Kentucky Voting Age.Youth Rights Network. (accessed March 3, 2008).
  13. Maine Voting Age.Youth Rights Network. (accessed March 3, 2008).
  14. Maryland Voting Age.Youth Rights Network. (accessed March 3, 2008).
  15. Mississippi Voting Age.Youth Rights Network. (accessed March 3, 2008).
  16. Nebraska Voting Age.Youth Rights Network. (accessed March 3, 2008).
  17. North Carolina Voting Age.Youth Rights Network. (accessed March 3, 2008).
  18. Ohio Voting Age.Youth Rights Network. (accessed March 3, 2008).
  19. Virginia Voting Age.Youth Rights Network. (accessed March 3, 2008).
  20. “Assembly Foils Try to Lower the Voting Age,” Anchorage Daily News, February 13, 2003.
  21. Lawmaker calls for lowering voting age,” Tucson Citizen, January 25, 2008.
  22. “Rep. Speier Wants 14-Year-Olds to Vote,” San Francisco Chronicle, February 25, 1995, A.17
  23. “Teen Voting Rights Proposed,” San Francisco Chronicle, May 6, 2004.
  24. “For Sweet 16, Boca Raton Girl Wants Rights to Vote,” Mike Clary, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, February 21, 2003, 1B.
  25. Lawmaker’s amendment would lower voting age to 17 ,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, February 13, 2008.
  26. Bill to Allow Voting by 17 Year-Olds Enacted by Legislature,” Maine House Democrats News Article.
  27. Harwich students seek to lower voting age,” Cape Cod Times, August 07, 2007.
  28. Minutes for City Council on December 14, 2010, 06:30 PM“, Lowell City Council, December 14, 2010.
  29. “Democrat Seeks to Lower Voting Age,” Robert Redding, Jr., Washington Times, August 26, 2003.
  30. “If Kids Could Vote” Peg Meier, Dave Matheny and Bob Lindegaard, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, February 11, 1989, 01E.
  31. “Bill to Lower Voting Age to 17 Passes Committee,” KARE.COM (TV-news station web site), at http://www.kare.com (No longer available on web).
  32. Bill would lower voting age to 16,” Britt Johnsen, Winona Daily News, January 26, 2007.
  33. Should 16-Year-Olds Have The Right To Vote?” Desiree Bailey, Gotham Gazette, May 2006
  34. “Lawmaker Pushes Legislation Lowering State’s Voting Age to 14,” Armando Villafranca, Houston Chronicle, February 15, 2001, 38.
  35. Sen. Scott White Introduces Bill to Lower Voting Age for School Board Elections,” CNBC, February 7, 2011
  36. Austrians Split on Voting at Age 16 Plan,” Veronika Oleksyn, Washington Post, January 12, 2007.
  37. Austria lowers the voting age to 16,” Eux.tv, March 14, 2007.
  38. Is 16 Old Enough to Vote,” Caylan Ford, The Epoch Times, February 20, 2005.
  39. Bill C-261 defeated following second reading debate,” Vote16.ca (accessed March 3, 2008).
  40. Germany Ponders ‘Family Vote,’” Deutsche Welle. September 4, 2003.
  41. <"Bradford proposes law to lower voting age to 16,” Radio New Zealand, June 21, 2007./A>
  42. New bill to address beneficiaries’ rights,” Greens.org.nz, July 26, 2007.
  43. Voting rights for 16-year olds,” Aftenposten, February 27, 2008.
  44. “The Making of a Leader,” Richard Stengel, Time Magazine, May 9, 1994.
  45. Swiss canton drops voting age to 16,” International Herald Tribune, May 6, 2007.
  46. Political maturity “not a question of age”,” swissinfo.org, 08 July 2007.
  47. “Call to Give Sixteen-Year Olds the Vote,” David Batty and Agencies, Guardian Unlimited, May 4, 2005.
  48. Chancellor backs proposals that would lower voting age to 16,” Financial Times, February 27 2006.
  49. Island’s voting age lowered to 16 ,” BBC News Online, February 7, 2006
  50. Voting age down to 16,” This is Jersey, July 5, 2007
  51. Reform (Guernsey) Law, 1948, s. 28(1),” The Official Guernsey Government Website, December, 2007