Over 80% of youths want voting age lowered


TAIPEI, Taiwan — The vast majority of young Taiwanese aged 16 to 20 believe Taiwan’s voting age should be lowered from 20 to 18, the Taiwan Alliance for Advancement of Youth Rights and Welfare said Sunday, citing the results of a poll.

A total of 81 percent of the poll’s 13,027 respondents answered ��yes�� when asked if they agreed with lowering the voting age, the civic group said at a press conference held at the Legislative Yuan.

��It is the voices of youths that have always been neglected,�� said Yeh Ta-hua, secretary-general of the youth rights promotion alliance.

She urged lawmakers to answer the request and get the process startedto amend the Constitution, which currently requires citizens to be 20years old before they can vote. Yeh argued that in Taiwan, 18-year-olds are regarded as full-grown adults who are obliged to pay taxes and serve in the military and are held fully responsible for any crimes they commit.

Yet despite those obligations, people aged 18 and 19 are not treated as ��citizens�� because they do not have the right to elect representatives of the people or leaders of the nation, Yeh said. ��It is unreasonable that the rights and obligations are not balanced,�� she said.

High school student Huang Chieh-an contended at the press conference that while some adults see teenagers as ��not being mature enough,�� not all adults are mature either.

��People should have more confidence in teenagers,�� he said.

According to Ministry of the Interior statistics, there were nearly 650,000 people aged 18 and 19 in Taiwan at the end of 2013.

The poll, which did have give a margin of error for its results, was conducted online and at more than 40 locations around Taiwan from Nov. 10 to 15, the alliance said.