A voting age is the minimum legal age set by the law at which persons are allowed to engage in casting their vote on a public election day. This age is usually stated in a country’s constitution as the legal voting age. In as much as voting is compulsory in some countries, for most nations it is optional to vote.The voting ages vary from 16 to 25 in different countries of the world.
The legal voting ages
Countries Whose Legal Voting Age is 16
The legal voting age for Nicaragua, Scotland, Isle of Man, Guernsey, Ethiopia, Ecuador, Cuba, Brazil, and Austria is 16 years. However, this age has been criticized by most people due to the fact that youths of this age have not yet gotten into the world of employment, tax remission, and home ownership. Many election decisions are believed to revolve around these three issues. As such it is assumed that those at the age of 16 are not able to vote knowledgeably based on the leaders’ policies. However, other critics have observed low voter turn out for persons aged 18 and above due to the apparent lack of interest in politics. As such they suggest that youths of age 16 are able to turn up for elections in large numbers. During the independent referendum in Scotland in 2014, the inclusion of the youths aged 16 and 17 produced positive results. Most of them who felt inadequate to vote resolved to actively seeking information that enabled them to make informed decisions on the voting day. This informed the decision of Scotland to lower its legal voting age to 16 from 18. However, Austria was the first European nation to lower its voting age in 2011.
Countries Whose Legal Voting Age is 17
Countries whose legal voting age is 17 are Sudan, South Sudan, North Korea, Indonesia, Greece, and East Timor. Even though the voting age in Indonesia is 17 years old, married persons are required to vote regardless of their age.
Countries Whose Legal Voting Age is 18
The legal voting age for most countries is 18. Over one hundred nations are in this category including Afghanistan, China, Australia, Bahamas, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, Comoros, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Guatemala, Israel, Jamaica, Jordan, Lebanon, Marshall Islands, Macedonia, Mauritania, Kenya, Mongolia, Philippines, Saint Helena, Tanzania, United States, Yemen, Zimbabwe, Japan, and Italy among many others. The voting age for residents of Boznia and Herzegovania is also 18. However, employed persons aged 16 can vote. On the other hand, in Argentina the voting age is 18 but those aged between 16 and 18 may also vote. In addition to this, voting is optional for citizens aged 70 and above.
Countries Whose Legal Voting Age is 19
South Korea is the only nation in which the legal voting age for the citizens is 19 years.
Countries With Legal Voting Ages of 20 or Above
The countries whose legal voting age is 20 include Nauru, Taiwan, and Bahrain. On the other hand, those states who can vote when 21 years or older are Oman, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga, Singapore, Malaysia, Kuwait, Jersey, and Cameroon. The United Arab Emirates has the oldest legal voting age in the world. Citizens can only vote when they attain the age of 25 or older. Notwithstanding the legal voting age, voting is a constitutional right that needs to be exercised by all citizens of a country.