Argentina Lowers Voting Age to Sixteen

In what is being viewed as a way to shore up votes for next October’s elections in which half of Argentina’s House of Representatives, and one third of the Senate will be up for grabs, Argentina has added approximately one million citizens (2% of the entire population) to voter rolls. According to local press, the voting bloc largely favors incumbent President Cristina Kirchner.

Despite winning reelection in 2011, her current popularity rating is an abysmal %25.

On Wednesday night, Argentina’s Chamber of Deputies (which is the equivalent of the US House of Representatives), signed off on a law already approved by the Senate, which lowers the legal voting age to 16.

Voting would be optional for those 16 and 17 years old. While voting is compulsory in Argentina (with exceptions), in the Argentine presidential elections on the 23rd of October, 2011 only 78.89% of eligible participants voted.

As a leading author of the bill, the Peronist majority Senator, Aníbal Fernández, ironically suggested that opposition parties in the country are currently opposed to extending the vote to youths, because “[the youths] always try and exercise their political power to oppose those in power.”

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