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Referendum: Zurich to vote on lower voting age

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 2 May, 2022 Updated Mon 2 May 2022 13:25 CEST
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A voter casts their ballot in the Swiss canton of Zurich. Photo: SEBASTIAN DERUNGS / AFP

Voters in Zurich will go to the polls to vote on a proposal to lower the voting age to 16 throughout the canton.

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In Switzerland, the rules for voting are implemented at a cantonal level. 

If approved, it would make Zurich just the second of Switzerland’s 26 cantons to have a lower voting age than 18. 

Glarus, just south of Zurich, became the first canton to lower the voting age to 16 after a vote in 2007. 

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What is the proposal?

Zurich parliament decided that people should be allowed to vote from the age of 16, rather than the current 18. 

As this would result in a change to the cantonal constitution, the issue must be put to the canton’s voters. Only those aged 18 and above will be entitled to vote on the proposal. 

EXPLAINED: What’s at stake in Switzerland’s May referendums?

Under the proposal, the minimum for anyone who wants to run for office would still be 18. 

How likely is it that Zurich will reduce voting age? 

As of early May, little polling has been done to get an insight into how likely it is that the vote will pass. 

While there have been several efforts to reduce voting age in Switzerland previously, only the Glarus vote was successful. 

Most recently, voters in the canton of Uri rejected a similar proposal in 2021, with 68.4 percent of voters rejecting the idea. 

Neuchâtel rejected a similar proposal in 2020. 

Generally speaking, younger people vote less regularly than the average in Switzerland. Less than one in three people aged 18 to 29 take part in elections regularly, compared with 45 percent of the broader population. 

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The Local 2022/05/02 13:25

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