(Enter Stage Right) -- On an otherwise perfectly normal Monday in mid-February, a bill was introduced in the Oregon legislature to lower the voting age from 18, as required (maximum) by Amendment XXVI to the US Constitution, to 16. The bill made headlines and was, among other places, discussed on The TODAY Show.
There has been a slight beginning trend to lower the voting age, in Europe and elsewhere. Austria lowered the general elections voting age to 16 in 2007. In Malta, a bill was passed only last year to do the same. Estonia has a voting age of 16 for local elections. In Europe, the voting age varies from 16 to 25, the most common being 18, as elsewhere around the world. The voting age for the Italian Senate is 25, where the eligibility age is 40.
Fourth Defeated Attempt in Norway
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In my own home country of Norway, there has been a campaign for some years to lower the voting age from 18 to 16, and it has been unsuccessful thus far. Constitutional amendments in Norway need to be introduced in one parliamentary term, by approximately a year before the next election, and then voted on in the next term, requiring a two-thirds majority. A constitutional bill to lower the voting age failed in January for the fourth consecutive term. Experiments with lowering the voting age to 16, limited to a small number of municipalities, were conducted in 2011 and 2015 during local elections. There were mixed results, according to evaluation reports from the Norwegian Institute for Social Research.