How voting looks around the world

Guardian, spring 2017
By Brenda Whitehall

Voting in an election is a democratic right that citizens in most countries have fought hard to achieve. With B.C.’s provincial election on the horizon, Coffee Break looks at voting around the world.

  • Teens as young as 16 or 17 are eligible to vote in some countries – including Brazil, Austria, Scotland, Nicaragua, North Korea, Cuba, Germany, Argentina and Indonesia.
  • Women in Saudi Arabia finally gained the right to vote – and run for office – in 2015. About 1,000 Saudi Arabian women ran in the municipal elections that year – with 20 winning local council seats.
  • Voting is mandatory in 22 countries – including Turkey, Egypt, Singapore, Belgium, Greece, Mexico and Australia.
  • New Zealand was the first country to grant women’s suffrage in 1893, followed by Australia in 1902. Canada ranks sixth (1917) after Finland, Norway and Denmark.
  • In countries like Iran, Jordan and India, citizens have their index finger inked to prove they voted.
  • Until 2012, Chilean men and women were segregated and had to vote in separate polling stations.
  • Although Britain’s Royal Family is eligible to vote, it’s customary for them to abstain from casting a ballot in political elections.
  • The May 9, 2017 provincial election is the 41st general election in B.C. Voters will elect 87 Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs).