Country Considers Lowering National Voting Age to 16
(DailyVantage.com) – In the majority of the world where citizens vote for their government officials, the minimum age to cast a ballot is 18. However, some countries let constituents as young as 16 make their voices heard. Now, New Zealand is trying to pass legislation to lower the voting age from 18 to 16.
On Monday, November 21, New Zealand’s Supreme Court finally handed down a ruling addressing the country’s voting age in a case brought by Make it 16, a voting advocacy group. In its decision, the High Court found that the current voting age, currently 18, is discriminatory and doesn’t align with the nation’s Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights says citizens should be free of age discrimination when they hit 16 years old.
New Zealand's Supreme Court rules the country's voting age of 18 is discriminatory, meaning parliament must discuss whether it should be lowered. The case was brought by group Make It 16, which wants the voting age reduced to include 16+ year olds.https://t.co/fPLrvPNLdF
— GeorginaSmyth (@GeorgieSmyth) November 21, 2022
According to Reuters, the country’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, says the next step is for the government to draft legislation to lower the voting age. However, it’s not a simple process. The legislation must go to parliament and garner 75% support to pass.
Many New Zealanders, including Sanat Singh, who co-directs Make it 16 in New Zealand, say, “it’s important to get all hands on deck” to create “a stronger future,” and that requires the voices of citizens that legislation is likely to impact in the future. In other words, the 16- and 17-year-olds, according to NPR. Others agree that if 16-year-olds are old enough to work full-time and pay taxes, they should have a say.
Still, not everyone is on board. Conservatives, including Opposition Leader Christopher Luxon, told reporters there needs to be a line drawn, and the party is “comfortable with the line being 18.”
Parliament will likely hold the vote in the coming months.
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