Michelle Rosenthal

social worker, Dr Susan Smith McKinney Nursing and Rehabilitation Center

This conversation is closed.

Should the minimum age a person could vote be lowered or raised and if so to what age?

Should people be allowed to vote under the age of 18 or should the age be raised back to 21?

There are many well informed young people that may know much more about politics than some of the adults who are allowed to vote and who may not know much about the issues.

Could individuals aged 17 or 16 be entrusted to vote? what about 15, 14 or 13? Their lives will greatly be impacted about decisions our politicians make especially about war as they may be called upon to fight in a war initiated by someone that they had no say in if that person should be granted that power or not. There are many youngsters that may be given a voice in our government. They do have something to say and we all should listen. They may steer us away from war into peace, away from individual profit motive and into open sourcing etc.

Ted is encouraging Youth Day and our youth are our future lets embrace them.

Many individuals under 18 are brilliant, talented, scientists, excellent parents and may contribute to our society if we let them.

What do you think, should we let them in?

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    Nov 20 2011: The fact is that there are people who are fifty years old that would struggle to name anyone but the Prime Minister/President of their respective countries. Even less would be aware of what party they are from or what their plans are for the nation. In Australia particulary, the majority of people who go to the polls just tick any box and be done with the time-consuming task that has to be done otherwise you are fined. The media on the commercial stations more or less choose the leader before election day even occurs.

    Should the age be lowered? Well, I believe that if you are aware of the situation in more depth than what is televised on the 5pm news bulletin than you are just able to vote than everybody else. I don't think voting should be mandatory, I believe that if you want to have a say than you go and do it but if you do not care about the outcome and are going to tick any such that may cancel out a persons vote who is actually voting for someone for a valid reason than in this case the system is flawed. Instead of ticking boxes, maybe people should be actually required to write the name down of the canidate? It would show that have minimum understanding of who they are voting for. Any person that has a rational reason to vote should be able to vote no matter their age.
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    Nov 14 2011: question: what is the correlation between age and education / cleverness / understanding of public issues? there is some, but not too much. there is much more variance between different people than between age groups.

    so my recommendation: first, stop pretending that a 12 years old can not be as informed as a 40 years old. second, stop pretending that we need to exclude "unworthy" individuals from voting. we are not doing that! we are not doing that with dumbs, alcoholists, evil bastards. why are we doing it with kids? so: one vote per person, no matter how old, young, evil, good, jailbird, mentally handicapped, wife beater, anything. you are 3 years old? you have a right to vote ... if you can show up, go to the booth and cast a vote, and if you care.
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    Dec 8 2011: Maturity does not necessarily come with age. I know people at 15 who are more concerned with the state of the world than people at 50. I think we should allow all people to vote, regardless of their age, as long as they can do it themselves. How come under-educated deeply disturbed adults get to vote while bright young kids can't have a say about their leaders?
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    Nov 18 2011: here's the thing, a human brain isn't fully developed until age 25, and me still being in high school there is alot of people who just jump the band wagon and join causes that they don't even fully know what the cause if for. And the scary thing is young teens in occupy wall street and L.A. are getting arrested and they tell me some B.S. that the banks are the problem to the recession and that they are the 99%. Well what about the people in our own Government, President Bush put CEO's of banks in his cabinet.

    the point is teens jump to conclusion and react on impulse, and they don't stop and think. And this is coming from a senior in high school and i think the age to vote should be 27
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    Nov 15 2011: Raised back to 21? Are we talking US or international voting age? In the UK the voting age of 18 has been in place for 42 years
  • Nov 14 2011: I think age is only one factor in considering if a person is eligible to vote. If we limit voting to property owners we can argue that voting is limited to those who are vested. This is not at all true since government has far reaching powers in modern times. Limiting by age is practical as we want elections to be decided by responsible persons who understand the impact of voting decisions.

    It is equally reasonable to estimate the total number of irresponsible people over the age of 17 is equal to the number of people 17 and under. How is age really limiting anything related to responsibility?

    I think it would be better to use the the educational system to our advantage in training voter responsibility rather than starting voting eligibility at the same time education becomes optional. How about a system where voters can register as early as 14 but most vote provisionally in 4 election cycles before there votes start to count? This trains 14-17 year olds, builds discipline in voting consistency, exposes the voter to all levels of elections, and is long enough for the voters to see the impact of the decisions they are making before they actually count. Vote could still count after the person turns 18. This could even be expanded so that all voters of any age must have participated in 4 election cycles prior to having votes count. This would even prevent election outcomes being swayed based on mobilizing groups along gender and income lines for the purpose of manipulating elections with votes from normally non-participating voters.

    Just a thought.
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      Nov 17 2011: Hey this is a great idea! As much as I love discussing ideas, proposing solutions is so refreshing.
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      Nov 20 2011: Michael, I disagree though I see your point. I do not think we should make more barriers to voting. I think it should be easier. I believe same day voter registration should be possible at the polls. People may get the urge to vote that day when an important election is occurring but if they did not preregister often 20 days in advance they may not be able to vote and if they missed a few election cycles they have to re-register. I think that all should be changed.