Menus Subscribe Search

Follow us


casarosada

La Casa Rosada, the seat of Argentina's executive branch. (PHOTO: )

Redefining the Youth Bloc: Giving 16-Year-Olds the Vote

Sarah Sloat • November 16, 2012 • 10:26 AM

La Casa Rosada, the seat of Argentina's executive branch. (PHOTO: )

A decision to lower the voting age from 18 is making waves in Argentina.

As American voters witnessed last week, the Facebook generation’s political punch can’t be taken lightly. With an estimated 23 million young voters coming to the polls, it was the bloc of 21- to 29-year-olds that kept key states Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and Pennsylvania from turning red.

In Argentina, the ruling party has taken these trends to heart. Its Congress just lowered the voting age from 18 to 16, enabling more than one million new voters to take part in 2013 mid-term elections. Voting will be voluntary for the new age bracket;  voters over the age of 18, meanwhile, are required by law to head to the polls.

The new youth vote could smooth the way for Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner to pass a constitutional amendment allowing her to run for a third term in 2015. Fernández will need the support of a two-thirds majority in Congress for this to happen, and there’s evidence that those seats could be decided by the new votes of 16- and 17-year-olds.

Despite plummeting approval ratings overall, Fernández appears to remain popular within a younger circle, as suggested by the vocal members of “La Campora,” a government youth group founded by her son Máximo Kirchner that has rallied with “Cristina Forever” banners.  Fernández has placed members of “La Campora” into top government positions and even hooked up students with free laptops by tapping into social security funds. Further political muscle includes control of major airline Areolineas Argentina and access to public school rooms where—through a game—kids are taught that newspapers are the enemy of the president. (To read La Nacion’s coverage you may want to refresh your high school Spanish.)

But when one group rallies, another can protest louder.  This past week thousands of demonstrators packed Buenos Aires to protest against rising inflation, high crime rates, and government corruption. The catalyst for this massive march? The possibility of the constitutional amendment.

An economy still struggling from the crisis of 2001 and a nation with a long history of political corruption, Argentina is no stranger to political protests. And while Fernández has not explicitly stated that she will attempt to run for a third term, that the government can be molded to make this possible has many Argentines fed up with the Casa Rosada.

Oh, and while new 16-year old voters can affect the upcoming trajectory of Argentine politics, they’ll still have to wait another two years before legally purchasing a Fernet and Coke.

Sarah Sloat
Sarah Sloat is an editorial fellow with Pacific Standard. She was previously selected as an intern for the Sara Miller McCune Endowed Internship and Public Service Program and has studied abroad in both Argentina and the U.K. Sarah has recently graduated from the University of California-Santa Barbara with a degree in Global and International Studies. Follow her on Twitter @sarahshmee.

More From Sarah Sloat

A weekly roundup of the best of Pacific Standard and PSmag.com, delivered straight to your inbox.

Recent Posts

October 21 • 4:00 PM

Why the Number of Reported Sexual Offenses Is Skyrocketing at Occidental College

When you make it easier to report assault, people will come forward.


October 21 • 2:00 PM

Private Donors Are Supplying Spy Gear to Cops Across the Country Without Any Oversight

There’s little public scrutiny when private donors pay to give police controversial technology and weapons. Sometimes, companies are donors to the same foundations that purchase their products for police.


October 21 • 12:00 PM

How Clever Do You Think Your Dog Is?

Maybe as smart as a four-year-old child?


October 21 • 10:00 AM

Converting the Climate Change Non-Believers

When hard science isn’t enough, what can be done?



October 21 • 8:00 AM

Education Policy Is Stuck in the Manufacturing Age

Refining our policies and teaching social and emotional skills will help us to generate sustained prosperity.


October 21 • 7:13 AM

That Cigarette Would Make a Great Water Filter

Clean out the ashtray, add some aluminum oxide, and you’ve (almost) got yourself a low-cost way to remove arsenic from drinking water.


October 21 • 6:00 AM

Fruits and Vegetables Are About to Enter a Flavor Renaissance

Chefs are teaming up with plant breeders to revitalize bland produce with robust flavors and exotic beauty—qualities long neglected by industrial agriculture.


October 21 • 4:00 AM

She’s Cheating on Him, You Can Tell Just by Watching Them

New research suggests telltale signs of infidelity emerge even in a three- to five-minute video.


October 21 • 2:00 AM

Cheating Demographic Doom: Pittsburgh Exceptionalism and Japan’s Surprising Economic Resilience

Don’t judge a metro or a nation-state by its population numbers.


October 20 • 4:00 PM

The Bird Hat Craze That Sparked a Preservation Movement

How a fashion statement at the turn of the 19th century led to the creation of the first Audubon societies.


October 20 • 2:00 PM

The Risk of Getting Killed by the Police If You Are White, and If You Are Black

An analysis of killings by police shows outsize risk for young black males.


October 20 • 12:00 PM

Love and Hate in Israel and Palestine

Psychologists find that parties to a conflict think they’re motivated by love while their enemies are motivated by hate.


October 20 • 11:00 AM

My Dog Comes First: The Importance of Pets to Homeless Youth

Dogs and cats have both advantages and disadvantages for street-involved youth.


October 20 • 10:00 AM

Homophobia Is Not a Thing of the Past

Despite growing support for LGBT rights and recent decisions from the Supreme Court regarding the legality of same-sex marriage, the battle for acceptance has not yet been decided.


October 20 • 8:00 AM

Big Boobs Matter Most

Medical mnemonics are often scandalous and sexist, but they help the student to both remember important facts and cope with challenging new experiences.


October 20 • 6:00 AM

When Disease Becomes Political: The Likely Electoral Fallout From Ebola

Will voters blame President Obama—and punish Democrats in the upcoming mid-term elections—for a climate of fear?


October 20 • 4:00 AM

Coming Soon: The Anatomy of Ignorance


October 17 • 4:00 PM

What All Military Families Need to Know About High-Cost Lenders

Lessons from over a year on the beat.


October 17 • 2:00 PM

The Majority of Languages Do Not Have Gendered Pronouns

A world without “he.” Or “she.”


October 17 • 11:01 AM

How to Water a Farm in Sandy Ground

Physicists investigate how to grow food more efficiently in fine-grained soil.


October 17 • 10:00 AM

Can Science Fiction Spur Science Innovation?

Without proper funding, the answer might not even matter.


October 17 • 8:00 AM

Seattle, the Incredible Shrinking City

Seattle is leading the way in the micro-housing movement as an affordable alternative to high-cost city living.


October 17 • 6:00 AM

‘Voodoo Death’ and How the Mind Harms the Body

Can an intense belief that you’re about to die actually kill you? Researchers are learning more about “voodoo death” and how it isn’t limited to superstitious, foreign cultures.


October 17 • 4:00 AM

That Arts Degree Is Paying Off

A survey of people who have earned degrees in the arts find they are doing relatively well, although their education didn’t provide much guidance on managing a career.


Follow us


That Cigarette Would Make a Great Water Filter

Clean out the ashtray, add some aluminum oxide, and you've (almost) got yourself a low-cost way to remove arsenic from drinking water.

Love and Hate in Israel and Palestine

Psychologists find that parties to a conflict think they're motivated by love while their enemies are motivated by hate.

How to Water a Farm in Sandy Ground

Physicists investigate how to grow food more efficiently in fine-grained soil.

Unlocking Consciousness

A study of vegetative patients closes in on the nature of consciousness.

Advice for Emergency Alert Systems: Don’t Cry Wolf

A survey finds college students don't always take alerts seriously.

The Big One

One company, Amazon, controls 67 percent of the e-book market in the United States—down from 90 percent five years ago. September/October 2014 new-big-one-5

Copyright © 2014 by Pacific Standard and The Miller-McCune Center for Research, Media, and Public Policy. All Rights Reserved.