Limits on the right to vote may be based on a minimum age.
- The observance of the principle of universal suffrage means: a) every citizen, upon coming up to the age fixed by the Constitution, laws, has the right to elect and to be elected to the bodies of state power, to local self-governments, other bodies of people’s (national) representation, to elective posts on the conditions and in line with procedures stipulated by the Constitution and laws.
- The law may regulate the exercise of the rights and opportunities referred to in the preceding paragraph [right to participate in government] only on the basis of age, nationality, residence, language, education, civil... capacity or sentencing by a competent court in criminal proceedings.
- The States party to the Convention commit themselves to: e) conduct voter registration on the basis of a legislatively established non-discriminatory and effective procedure that envisage such parameters of registration as age, citizenship, place of residence, basic document certifying citizen’s identity.
- Accordingly, the exclusion from the right to vote of any groups or categories of the general population must be reconcilable with the underlying purposes of Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 (see Ždanoka, cited above, § 105). The Court has held, inter alia, that domestic legislation making the right to vote subject to a minimum age or to residence conditions is, in principle, compatible with Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 (see Hirst, § 62, and Hilbe, both cited above). It has acknowledged that any general, automatic and indiscriminate departure from the principle of universal suffrage risks undermining the democratic validity of the legislature thus elected and the laws it promulgates (see Hirst, cited above).
- The right to vote at elections must be established by law and may be subject only to reasonable restrictions, such as setting a minimum age limit for the right to vote.
- Article 23(2) of the American Convention establishes that the law may regulate the exercise and opportunities of such rights only on the basis of “age, nationality, residence, language, education, civil and mental capacity, or sentencing by a competent court in criminal proceedings.” The provision that limits the reasons for which it is possible to restrict the use of the rights of paragraph 1 has only one purpose – in light of the Convention as a whole and of its essential principles – to avoid the possibility of discrimination against individuals in the exercise of their political rights. It is evident that the inclusion of these reasons refers to the enabling conditions that the law can impose to exercise political rights. Restrictions based on these criteria are common in national electoral laws, which provide for the establishment of the minimum age to vote and to be elected, and some connection to the electoral district where the right is exercised, among other regulations. Provided that they are not disproportionate or unreasonable, these are limits that the States may legitimately establish to regulate the exercise and enjoyment of political rights and that, it should be repeated, they refer to certain requirements that the titleholders of political rights must comply with so as to be able to exercise them.
- Universal suffrage means in principle that all human beings have the right to vote. This right may, however, and indeed should, be subject to certain conditions: a. Age: the right to vote must be subject to a minimum age but must be acquired, at the latest, at the age of majority.
- In general, these limitations fall within four categories: (1) minimum age requirements; (2) citizenship requirements; (3) residency requirements; and (4) loss of franchise due to mental incapacity, criminal conduct, or other factors. Any limitation or restriction on the right to vote, however, must be scrutinized as to whether it is clearly justified due to exceptional circumstances and whether it is proportionate to the circumstances in question.
- [T]he right to vote must be acquired, at the latest, at the age of majority
- The right to vote must be given to all citizens of the country on equal terms, provided they have reached a pre-described age.
- In its recent world-wide comparative survey, the IPU noted that 18 years is currently the voting age norm, adopted by some 109 States of the 150 surveyed.
- ...[T]here is agreement that it is appropriate to define voter eligibility based upon certain other characteristics: Citizenship, Residency, and Age.
- Reasonable restrictions may include factors such as residence, citizenship, convicted persons in legal detention, and those considered mentally incapacitated by the courts.
- [T]he right to vote and to be elected must be subject to a minimum age.
- Reasonable requirement are usually limited to minimum age, nationality ...
- ...States should: Establish an effective, impartial and non-discriminatory procedure for the registration of voters; Establish clear criteria for the registration of voters, such as age, citizenship and residence, and ensure that such provisions are applies without distinction of any kind.
- Reasonable restrictions [on voting] have included distinctions based on age, citizenship, residency...
- Voting rights should be based on considerations that include: citizenship; legal age of majority (this may differ from country to country); residency requirements; any other additional grounds for disqualification (eg, prisoners in detention, persons with a criminal record... and so on).