Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Friday, October 31, 2014

Who should vote?

Way back in 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower proposed lowering the voting age in the USA to 18. In the 1960s, largely because of the political pressure of the draft and anti-war protests, the 26th amendment, lowering the voting age, was proposed. It passed (in 1971) in record time. The SNP has advocated lowering the voting age to 16, and did so for the Scottish independence poll.

Now the proposal has been made in Russia. Why would you expect this proposal to fail? Do you know the legal voting age in the other countries you are studying?

MPs suggest lowering Russian voting age
A lawmaker from the populist nationalist LDPR [(Russian: Политическая партия ЛДПР), formerly the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia] caucus has prepared a bill to allow Russians as young as 16 to take part in elections and referendums, claiming the measure would legalize young people’s participation in politics…

The lawmaker [Andrey Didenko, first deputy head of LDPR caucus in the State Duma] says that dropping the voting age to 16 would significantly increase voter turnout. He explained that as elections in Russia are held on a single voting day in mid-September, adults and pensioners can be away from their homes for vacation and rest; young people however begin their studies on September 1 and will be definitely available to vote. Didenko added that adults who shun the elections would start taking part in polls once they see their future is being decided by the young…

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