Congress to discuss lowering voter age to 16

The Plenary will decide today if it accepts to process the initiative that proposes to modify four articles of the Electoral Law to lower the voting age to 16 years, collect that adjustment in the census and also set that minimum to be able to be part of a polling station.

In the text of the draft law, it mentions a 2011 resolution in which the Council of Europe was committed to this reduction and warned that “the demographic evolution in Europe could lead to the growing marginalisation of youth in the political process”, running that it ends up being “dominated by issues mainly of interest to older people”.

In addition, the pro-independence supporters point out that entities such as the European Youth Forum, the Spanish Youth Council and the Consell Nacional del la Joventut de Catalunya also support voting once they turn 16.

The Esquerra Republicana group are leaders of the proposal to change the Electoral Law to allow people over 16 to vote, an idea that has the support of formations such as Unidas Podemos and Más Paísand, a possibility that the Government mentions in the Youth Strategy 2022-2030 approved last May.

It was precisely then, after the approval of a resolution in this sense in the framework of the monographic Plenary on Youth held in the Catalan Parliament, when the independence formation registered this bill, which had already been presented twice in 2016 and a third in 2020, although later withdrawn.

They point out that from that age it is already mandatory to pay taxes, you can work, consent to medical treatment or get married. They also point out that Austria was in 2007 the first member country of the EU that allowed the vote at 16, that other member states are debating it and that this right already governs in other places such as: Brazil, Ecuador, Hungary, Slovenia, Norway, Argentina, some states of Germany and the Swiss canton of Glarus.

Currently, Congress has created a sub commission to study possible changes to the electoral regime, but for now it has focused on the repeal of the requested vote that is required of residents abroad. Más País-Equo took advantage of this legal reform to present an amendment with the lowering of the age, but the majority groups discarded it, referring to the work of the study subcommittee.