A proposed constitutional amendment to lower the voting age to 18 from 20 did not pass yesterday after it failed to garner the minimum number of votes required.
The referendum, which asked voters if they agree to amend the Additional Articles of the Constitution to grant Taiwanese aged 18 years or older the right to vote and the right to run for public office, was held concurrently with local government elections.
The referendum needed 9,619,697 “yes” votes, or half the number of eligible voters, to pass.
The Central Election Commission data showed that 5,647,102 voted “yes,” while 5,016,427voted against the proposal.
To amend the Constitution, a draft amendment must first pass the legislature with three-quarters of legislators present and three-quarters of those present voting for it. The amendment must then be endorsed in a national referendum.
The 113-seat legislature on March 25 voted 109-0 in favor of lowering the voting age, sending a message of cross-party support for the measure and sending it to a national referendum.
A plebiscite on a proposed constitutional amendment is different from referendums seeking to change a government policy or law.
The election commission has said that referendums on constitutional amendments are not subject to the Referendum Act (公民投票法), which allows citizens aged 18 or older to vote and prohibits holding referendums on the same day as national elections.
The commission also cited the Constitution as saying that only citizens aged 20 or older are eligible to vote in referendums on constitutional amendments.
In addition, referendums on constitutional amendments requires twice the number of “yes” votes to pass, while other referendums only require 25 percent of eligible votes to cast a ballot and a majority to support the proposed policy or law.
This story has been updated since it was first published.
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