Monday, July 14, 2008

Why do we have a voting age?

I recently watched the West Wing episode in which teenagers come to the Whitehouse to lobby to have the voting age reduced, it was a good episode and highlighted the dumb thinking that goes into opposition to youth voting.

Why not allow youth to vote in our elections? If youth were able to vote before they left school, the whole process would be presented to them within the context of the learning environment. Voting would become part of the curriculum.

If voting was part of the culture youth learned in schools, odds are they would continue to vote afterwards.

It is also unreasonable to stop youth having a direct say in the world that they will spend their lives in. School boards are elected by people that do not use them - the kids is school get no chance to vote for the people that close their schools and set the dumb ass policies in the school districts.

The arguments against youth voting only make sense if you restrict voting among adults if they do not know enough or are not able to 'think for themselves'. No one demands a literacy test from adults before voting, or even the ability to speak English or French.

We let youth drive at 16, and driving a car is much more complex than voting or understanding politics. We allow 16 year olds to join the militia, but they can not vote. Kids have to pay taxes on income and purchases, but they are not allowed to have a say on what happens to the taxes.

Let everyone that is a citizen vote, get rid of the age restriction.
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