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Legal Voting Age

16

16.5

17

17.5

18

18.5

19

19.5

20

20.5

21

Click on a country for details.

Voting Rights by Country 2024

In democratic nations, the right to vote is an essential part of being a citizen. People with voting rights have a valuable say in the overall national decision-making process and a chance to be heard.

However, voting rights in practice can still differ considerably from one country to the next, especially when it comes to who actually has them. Here’s a closer look at how things stack up worldwide, as well as a few key factors that can contribute to a country’s approach to voting rights.

Countries Worldwide with Universal Voting Rights

Also known as universal suffrage, the universal right to vote is something only 22 world countries claim to have as of 2023. However, these rights may or may not actually be realized due to a variety of different factors.

The following are a few examples of how universal voting rights play out in several countries with universal suffrage.

New Zealand

As New Zealand was the first self-governed country to grant women the right to vote in 1893, it’s often looked to as a leading example of what universal voting rights should look like. New Zealand has steadily expanded voter’s rights over the years to eventually include every eligible citizen.

Canada

In Canada, both native citizens and permanent residents are allowed to participate in the election process, making it yet another country often celebrated for its ongoing approach to voting equality.

Brazil

Over the years, Brazil has gone well beyond the minimum when it comes to championing voting rights. As of 2023, a very wide range of different citizens are allowed to participate in the electoral process. This includes prisoners and teenagers aged 16 and up.

South Africa

During its transition to democracy from apartheid during the 1990s, South Africa stood out for its efforts to ensure every citizen had voting rights regardless of their race or ethnic background.

Additional Challenges Related to Voting Rights

Although an expansion of voting rights is a step in the right direction when it comes to making sure all citizens are heard, there are additional challenges to consider, as well. Examples include:

  • Voter Turnout: In many cases, voters still face daunting obstacles that can affect whether they turn up to vote on election days.
  • Migrant Residents: At present, migrants, refugees, and non-citizens only enjoy voting rights in a few nations worldwide, which can lead to underrepresentation.
  • Accessibility Issues: Voter suppression efforts, a shortage of polling stations, and similar issues still sometimes impact voters’ ability to exercise their right to vote in the first place.
  • Freedom status rankings are abbreviated as follows: F=Free, PF=Partly Free, NF=Not Free
  • The Total Freedom Score is the aggregate score for all freedom categories, including Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Function of Government, Freedom of Expression and Belief, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights, Civil Liberties, Political Rights, and Associational and Organizational Rights.
  • Data indicators monitored shifted slightly in 2018. As such, data for years before 2018 will not correlate perfectly with data from years following 2018.

Download Table Data

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Country
Legal Voting Age
Additional Details
Vote Status
Afghanistan18
Universal
Albania18
Universal
Algeria18
Universal
American Samoa18
Universal
Andorra18
Universal
Angola18
Universal
Anguilla18
Universal
Antigua and Barbuda18
Universal
Argentina18
Ages 16-17 have option to vote in national elections. | Those over the age of 70 do not vote.
Universal and Compulsory
Armenia18
Universal
Aruba18
Universal
Australia18
Universal and Compulsory
Austria16
Universal
Azerbaijan18
Universal
Bahamas18
Universal
Bahrain20
Universal
Bangladesh18
Universal
Barbados18
Universal
Belarus18
Universal
Belgium18
Universal and Compulsory
Belize18
Universal
Benin18
Universal
Bermuda18
Universal
Bhutan18
Universal
Bolivia18
Universal and Compulsory
Bosnia and Herzegovina18
Minimum age lowered to 16 if employed.
Universal
Botswana18
Universal
Brazil18
Compulsory between ages 18 to 70.
Compulsory
British Virgin Islands18
Universal
Brunei18
Minimum age lowered to 18 for village elections.
Universal
Bulgaria18
Universal
Burkina Faso18
Universal
Burundi18
Universal
Cambodia18
Universal
Cameroon20
Universal
Canada18
Universal
Cayman Islands18
Universal
Central African Republic18
Universal
Chad18
Universal
Chile18
Universal
China18
Universal
Colombia18
Universal
Comoros18
Universal
Cook Islands18
Universal
Costa Rica18
Universal and Compulsory
Croatia18
Universal
Cuba16
Universal
Curacao18
Universal
Cyprus18
Universal
Denmark18
Universal
Dominica18
Universal
Dominican Republic18
Married persons regardless of age can vote. | Members of the armed forces and national police by law...
Universal and Compulsory
DR Congo18
Universal and Compulsory
Ecuador18
Compulsory for ages 18-65. Voluntary for ages 16-18 or over 65.
Universal and Compulsory
Egypt18
Universal and Compulsory
El Salvador18
Universal
Equatorial Guinea18
Universal
Eritrea18
Universal
Estonia18
Minimum age lowered to 16 for local elections.
Universal
Eswatini18
Ethiopia18
Universal
Falkland Islands18
Universal
Faroe Islands18
Universal
Fiji18
Universal
Finland18
Universal
France18
Universal
French Polynesia18
Universal
Gabon18
Universal
Gambia18
Universal
Georgia18
Universal
Germany18
Minimum age lowered to 16 for some state and municipal elections.
Universal
Ghana18
Universal
Gibraltar18
British citizens with six months residence or more may also vote.
Universal
Greece17
Universal and Compulsory
Greenland18
Universal
Grenada18
Universal
Guam18
Guamanians are US citizens but do not vote in US presidential elections.
Universal
Guatemala18
Active-duty members of the armed forces and police cannot vote and are restricted to their barracks ...
Universal
Guernsey16
Universal
Guinea18
Universal
Guyana18
Universal
Haiti18
Universal
Honduras18
Universal and Compulsory
Hong Kong18
Universal with three years residency. | Universal in indirect elections for permanent residents liv...
Universal
Hungary18
Minimum age lowered to 16 if married and marriage is registered in Hungary.
Universal
Iceland18
Universal
India18
Universal
Indonesia17
Married persons regardless of age may vote.
Universal
Iran18
Universal
Iraq18
Universal
Ireland18
Universal
Isle of Man16
Universal
Israel18
Minimum age lowered to 17 for municipal elections.
Universal
Italy18
Universal except in senatorial elections, where minimum age is 25.
Universal
Ivory Coast18
Universal
Jamaica18
Universal
Japan18
Universal
Jersey16
Universal
Jordan18
Universal
Kazakhstan18
Universal
Kenya18
Universal
Kiribati18
Universal
Kuwait21
Kyrgyzstan18
Universal
Laos18
Universal
Latvia18
Universal
Lebanon21
Authorized for all men and women regardless of religion. However, excludes all military and security...
Lesotho18
Universal
Liberia18
Universal
Libya18
Universal
Liechtenstein18
Universal
Lithuania18
Universal
Luxembourg18
Universal and Compulsory
Macau18
Indirect elections are limited to organizations registered as "corporate voters" and an election com...
Madagascar18
Universal
Malawi18
Universal
Malaysia18
Universal
Maldives18
Universal
Mali18
Universal
Malta18
Minimum age lowered to 16 for local council elections.
Universal
Marshall Islands18
Universal
Mauritania18
Universal
Mauritius18
Universal
Mexico18
Universal and Compulsory
Micronesia18
Universal
Moldova18
Universal
Monaco18
Universal
Mongolia18
Universal
Montenegro18
Universal
Montserrat18
Universal
Morocco18
Universal
Mozambique18
Universal
Namibia18
Universal
Nauru20
Universal and Compulsory
Nepal18
Universal
Netherlands18
Universal
New Caledonia18
Universal
New Zealand18
Universal
Nicaragua16
Universal
Niger18
Universal
Nigeria18
Universal
Niue18
Universal
North Korea17
Universal and Compulsory
North Macedonia18
Universal
Northern Mariana Islands18
Indigenous inhabitants are US citizens but do not vote in US presidential elections.
Universal
Norway18
Universal
Oman21
Members of the military and security forces by law cannot vote.
Universal
Pakistan18
There are joint electorates and reserved parliamentary seats for women and non-Muslims.
Universal
Palau18
Universal
Panama18
Universal
Papua New Guinea18
Universal
Paraguay18
Universal and compulsory until the age of 75.
Universal and Compulsory
Peru18
Universal and compulsory until the age of 70.
Universal and Compulsory
Philippines18
Universal
Poland18
Universal
Portugal18
Universal
Puerto Rico18
Island residents are US citizens but do not vote in US presidential elections.
Universal
Qatar18
Universal
Republic of the Congo18
Universal
Romania18
Universal
Russia18
Universal
Rwanda18
Universal
Saint Barthelemy18
Universal
Saint Kitts and Nevis18
Universal
Saint Lucia18
Universal
Saint Martin18
Universal
Saint Pierre and Miquelon18
Universal
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines18
Universal
Samoa21
Universal
San Marino18
Universal
Sao Tome and Principe18
Universal
Saudi Arabia18
Universal for municipal elections.
Universal
Senegal18
Universal
Serbia18
Minimum age lowered to 16 if employed.
Universal
Seychelles18
Universal
Sierra Leone18
Universal
Singapore21
Universal and Compulsory
Sint Maarten18
Universal
Slovakia18
Universal
Slovenia18
Universal
Solomon Islands21
Universal
Somalia18
Universal
South Africa18
Universal
South Korea18
Minimum age lowered from 19 to 18 beginning with the 2020 national election.
Universal
South Sudan18
Universal
Spain18
Universal
Sri Lanka18
Universal
Sudan17
Universal
Suriname18
Universal
Sweden18
Universal
Switzerland18
Universal
Syria18
Universal
Taiwan20
In March 2022, the Legislative Yuan approved lowering the voting age to 18, but the change will requ...
Universal
Tajikistan18
Universal
Tanzania18
Universal
Thailand18
Universal and Compulsory
Togo18
Universal
Tokelau21
Universal
Tonga21
Universal
Trinidad and Tobago18
Universal
Tunisia18
Universal except for active government security forces (including the police and the military), peop...
Universal
Turkey18
Universal
Turkmenistan18
Universal
Turks and Caicos Islands18
Universal
Tuvalu18
Universal
Uganda18
Universal
Ukraine18
Universal
United Arab Emirates21
Rulers of the seven emirates each select a proportion of voters for the Federal National Council (FN...
Selective
United Kingdom18
Universal
United States18
Universal
Uruguay18
Universal and Compulsory
Uzbekistan18
Universal
Vanuatu18
Universal
Vatican City
While there is no established minimum age for voting in Vatican City, one must be a cardinal in the ...
Venezuela18
Universal
Vietnam18
Universal
Wallis and Futuna18
Universal
Yemen18
Universal
Zambia18
Universal
Zimbabwe18
Universal
showing: 220 rows

Which countries have universal voting rights?

Currently, there are 22 countries that have universal voting rights, but only 11 of those countries actually enforce it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Sources