What’s the Latest Development?

In Argentina, the current voting age is 18, the same as the United States, but some Argentine politicians are looking to change the voting age to 16. A senate vote to change the voting age was taken last week after a push by fellow party members of Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who is “widely supported by a growing youth movement.” Opponents of the change say that President Kirchner is trying to pad her party’s numbers with a youth vote. Other countries with a voting age of 16 include Brazil, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Austria.

What’s the Big Idea?

While extending the vote to 16 and 17 year olds could allow youth to provide their voice in the political arena, a variety of critics question the ramifications of such a change. Some argue that the youth are too easily manipulated or that they will vote the same way as their parents do. There are also questions of what other rights as adults they would be expected to meet. Still, many proponents say that 16 year-olds have just as much capacity to reason as their adult counterparts when deciding in the voting booth. While voting in Argentina is mandatory among citizens, it will not be so for those under 18 if the voting age is lowered.

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