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Leadnow | August 23, 2016

Pros and Cons of Lowering the Voting Age to 16

To prepare for our presentation to the voting reform committee on August 30th, we asked our community what they thought about online voting, mandatory voting and lowering the voting age. Here are the pros and cons of lowering the voting age that we provided in the survey.

Arguments for lowering the voting age

  • Many 16 year olds can drive, hold a job and pay taxes and thus should have a say in government

  • It would help develop a habit at an earlier age when they are still at home and in school, increasing the likelihood they would continue to vote later in life

  • Many youth already participate informally in politics through school, political parties and social media and therefore would be capable of participating in formal politics

  • It would mean better representation of issues youth care about


Arguments against lowering the voting age

  • Some argue 16 and 17 year olds may not be mature or informed enough to responsibly vote

  • There’s no evidence it would improve voter turnout long-term

  • Youth may be more susceptible than other age groups to pressure from peers and external influences



  1. Barnes, Andre, Dara Lithwick, & Erin Virgint, 2016. Electoral Systems and Electoral Reform in Canada and Elsewhere: An Overview. (Library of Parliament).

  2. Daro, Ishmael, 2015. Want to improve Canadian democracy? Lower the voting age to 16. (National Post):

  3. Hussein, Jenna, 2013. Opinion: Why 16-year-olds should be allowed to vote (VanCity Buzz):

  4. Maloney, Ryan, 2016. Don Davies, NDP MP, Wants Canada's Voting Age Lowered To 16 (Huffington Post Canada):

  5. Urback, Robyn, 2010. Don’t drop the voting age. (Macleans):