Different Rules for Voting Across the World
By Ally Rau
A majority of the countries today have a voting age of 18, but not all. According to Batchgeo, in 205 of the 237 countries in the world, citizens are able to start voting at 18 years of age. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, you are allowed to vote at the age of 16 if you are employed. Japan had a voting age of 20, but in 2016 it was changed to 18 years old.
Eleven countries have a voting age of 16 years. Austria lowered the voting age to 16 in order to get younger people involved in elections. In an article written by Euronews, it talks about the importance of young voters and how the experience draws voters back as they age. The oldest voting age across the world is 25, in the United Arab Emirates. Even though their government allows voting at 25, according to Gulf News, only around a third actually get the chance to vote.
In most of Central and South America and Australia it is a requirement that you vote. In Australia, if you do not vote you may have to pay a fine. When voting becomes mandatory, people vote because they have to. In Brazil, many people do not have enough information on candidates and vote randomly. Many citizens also have to pay high travel costs to get to polling stations while also being unable to work resulting in a loss of their salary.
In Brazil and Peru, it is mandatory that you vote until the age of 70 and until you are 75 years old in Luxembourg and Paraguay. In Oman, Kuwait, Indonesia, and Guatemala you are not allowed to vote if you are part of the military or police force, while in North Korea anyone in the military can vote at any age.
Many people in the US want to change the voting age to 16 years of age. “I am not opposed to lowering the age of voting because I think anyone who is paying taxes should have a say in where their money is going,” Heather Weber, a La Follette history teacher, said. At the age of 16, many citizens start paying taxes due to jobs, and some start driving. According to Vox, the biggest argument against allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in elections is because they may not have the same level of civil knowledge as an adult. Although with recent major movements happening, such as gun reform or climate change, many protests and rallies are led by teenagers. “Voting is becoming more important to millennials and teenagers,” Weber said. Many teenagers know what is going on in the world and they want to be able to make a difference.
As you get older, voting can become more challenging. When voting in many states across the U.S, including Wisconsin, you need to have a photo ID such as a driver's license, that many elderly people do not have, making it harder for them to vote. There is also the new Real ID act. To get a Real ID, you have to have proof of your name, where you were born, social security number, and an address. The Real ID was created to ensure higher security when flying. Starting in October fliers will need a Real ID to fly in the U.S. according to UpgradedPoints. They are being used as an ID for voting as a form of identification.
In some countries, the voting age is changing, but many still have a voting age of 18. Voting is a way to get your voice heard and when more people vote, that is how change is created.