What Elections Look Like Elsewhere

Election season has been shoved down our throats, and I for one am exhausted. But in all honesty, how spoiled am I? I am an eighteen-year-old female who gets to vote for our next president. I get to go to the polls safely and make my small but still important impact. And I will do it all over again in four years. 

We all know so much about our electing process and what we, as Americans, have the chance to do, but what about in other places in the world? What are other voting ages or restrictions like? How often do they vote? Does their votes matter? Here are some places across the globe and their voting policies explained. 

Scotland

In Scotland, citizens have the opportunity to vote for their representation in the Scottish Parliament every four years. According to the UK Parliament’s Electoral Commission, when a citizen votes in a Scottish Parliament election, they have two votes. Their first vote is for who they wish to elect as their constituency member and the second is for who they want as their regional member. The Scots can vote for parliament starting at age sixteen!   

Brazil

Brazil has incredibly complex voting laws that have changed several times in the last few decades. Voting is viewed strictly as a duty and thus is compulsory for citizens ages eighteen to seventy. Citizens can start voting at 16, and despite it not being mandatory yet, a lot of young people do vote. Voting is so important to Brazilians that election day is a national holiday. Similar to our system in the United States, Brazil votes for a president every four years, but according to the U.S. Library of Congress, there are two rounds of elections and several other steps and details that make the overall process complicated.   

Lebanon 

Lebanon has an incredibly lengthy and complex electoral system for electing seats in their parliament. According to Aljazeera News, voting is dictated by religion: parliamentary seats are allocated on a 50:50 basis between the two dominating religions, Islam and Christianity. To make things even more complicated, the parliament seats are then even further divided to represent sects within each religious capacity. Voting for a president takes an extremely long time. In their last presidential election, the first round of voting began in April of 2014, and the voting finally closed in October of 2016. The voting process takes so long because a candidate has to gain a two thirds majority. Lebanon is famous for fingerprinting on election day, so everyone proudly shows off their ink stained thumbs!  

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