From Iceland — New Bill Would Lower Voting Age To 16 For Municipal Elections

New Bill Would Lower Voting Age To 16 For Municipal Elections

Published February 23, 2017

Andie Sophia Fontaine
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A new bill, supported by MPs from every party except the Progressive Party, would if passed into law lower the voting age from 18 to 16 for municipal elections.

The bill in question, led by Left-Green chair Katrín Jakobsdóttir, would go into effect for the 2018 municipal elections if it is passed this year. It stipulates that the voter must be an Icelandic citizen, be 16 years old at the time of the elections, and have their registered address in the municipality in question.

Where foreigners are concerned, the same rules still apply: Nordic nationals with continuous residence in their respective municipality for three years, and other foreigners with continuous residence in their municipality for five years, may still vote in these elections.

The bill points out that this would increase the voting rolls for municipal elections by some 9,000 people, and that lowering the voting age for these elections has been proposed four times before. In fact, the last time the voting age was changed in Iceland was when it was lowered from 20 to 18 for general elections, in 1984.

This idea is not without precedent, either. Scotland and some municipalities in Germany have lowered the voting age to 16, and experienced considerable success with this experiment.

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