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Subject: Please discuss: should the voting age be changed to 13? rss

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Rob
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Teenagers have wanted more control over their lives for centuries. Why (or why not) give them one of the most powerful tools to make it happen?
 
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Eric "Shippy McShipperson" Mowrer
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We've already got way too many ignorant, selfish, immature, greedy, et cetera people voting. We don't need to increase that figure. As far as I'm concerned, you can take away their drivers liscenses till they're 18, too. They can't properly govern what little bit of life they DO control.

Disclaimer: I'm only talking about 90% or so of teens. Of course there are exceptions.

Note: These opinions are based on my own experiences as a teenager. I, and most of my friends, were a danger to others and would have almost certainly have made voting decisions based on all the wrong reasons. Abolish English class, anyone? How about lowering the drinking age to 13?
 
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Scott Russell
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In general, I think using age (whatever the number) as a qualifier for voting (or other privileges) is a bad idea.

I'd much prefer to see some minimum qualifications for voting. Unfortunately, I can't come up with any foolproof ways to objectively measure capability that couldn't be easily subverted to rule out whole classes/races/genders/etc of people.


Maybe Heinlein's idea that only veterans get the privilege of voting would work? That would be tougher to mess up.

One method I've toyed with for years is to only allow net payers to the government to vote. So if you are on welfare, social security or are a government employee (or some combination) you don't get a vote. Lots of tricky issues to resolve. Do government contractors qualify (I'd lean towards no)? If you are on unemployment, can you vote (I'd lean yes)?

To answer original question and assuming that we stick to everyone of age greater than or equal to an arbitrary number voting, then I think changing from 18 to 13 would be a bad idea.
 
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Jorgen
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Sinister Dexter wrote:
Teenagers have wanted more control over their lives for centuries. Why (or why not) give them one of the most powerful tools to make it happen?


Are you on crack?
 
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pronoblem baalberith
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Do away with voting.
 
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howl hollow howl
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Sinister Dexter wrote:
Teenagers have wanted more control over their lives for centuries. Why (or why not) give them one of the most powerful tools to make it happen?


Only if they get unlimited votes and it accomodates text messaging.
 
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Michael Barlow
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No, keep the age the same. But make voting mandatory, by law. There's too much apathy for state corruption, in your country and in mine.
 
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Thomas Eager
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laugh Why? Is Biz Markie on the ballot? laugh
 
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Nobody beats The Biz! Roxanne Shanté for VP.
 
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'Bernard Wingrave'
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I'd like to see the same age for all of the following:
drinking, buying cigarettes, voting, driving, joining the military.

How does 20 sound?
 
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!
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How about we restrict the vote to people who don't wish to disenfranchise everyone else?
 
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I advocate raising the voting age and the age of consent to 21 but making both compulsory.
 
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Geoff Bohrer
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Personally, I think we oughta draft our politicians.

"Go to Congress or go to jail!"
 
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Stephen Harkleroad
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I've worked as a vote inspector (the guy who sits behind the big book and makes sure everyone is on the list and legal). Let's just say there are a *lot* of people in the US that vote that shouldn't. The lack of understanding of the basic principles of democracy by most people is appalling.

There's a point of diminishing returns; the people who don't vote now are probably those that are even less well-informed than those who vote now, so as far as I'm concerned all of the registration drives and "compuslory" ideas are going to make things worse instead of better, at least until citizens become more informed.

I won't go into specifics, since no matter what I say I'll be flamed mercilessly. I'll just say that, all things considered, the number of people who shouldn't vote seem to be roughly evenly distributed and tend to cancel each other out.
 
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Geoff Bohrer
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Coase wrote:
I'll just say that, all things considered, the number of people who shouldn't vote seem to be roughly evenly distributed and tend to cancel each other out.


Tom, just to clarify and maybe plug one nozzle of the flamethrower, by "shouldn't vote" you mean "are not technically legally entitled to vote"...such as citizens of other countries...and not "people I think are too dumb/too smart/too black/too white/too rich/too poor" to vote, right?
 
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If Actions Speak Louder Than Words, Then Actions x2 Speak Louder Than Actions
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I teach 14 to 18 year olds. Their attention span is microscopic and the biggest impetus in their lives is themselves.

So, yeah, let's lower the voting age. As long as we also shorten elected officials' term limits to about a half an hour per term, legislate via MySpace and actually enact law that gives teenagers the authority to be as important, wise, knowledgeable, and imperious as they currently think they are.

Have you met thirteen-year olds? Not a single thirteen-year old, but a group of them?

We really ought to be discussing how to help thirteen-year olds as a group become more mature and ready to make informed decisions. Elevating the group to the responsibility, not lowering the standard for those who have...
 
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Todays avatar: Last time I saw Axl he was waiting for his forever home.
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joebelanger wrote:
I teach 14 to 18 year olds. Their attention span is microscopic and the biggest impetus in their lives is themselves.



We really ought to be discussing how to help thirteen-year olds as a group become more mature and ready to make informed decisions. Elevating the group to the responsibility, not lowering the standard for those who have...



I work with 24 to 38 year olds. Their attention span is microscopic and the biggest impetus in their lives is themselves.



Perhaps if we had helped them as thirteen-year olds as a group to become more mature and ready to make informed decisions...
 
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If Actions Speak Louder Than Words, Then Actions x2 Speak Louder Than Actions
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Scott Russell
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Actually, since 12 year olds have to pay more for admission to movies, theme parks, etc., maybe they should get to vote.
 
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Stephen Harkleroad
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gbohrer wrote:
Coase wrote:
I'll just say that, all things considered, the number of people who shouldn't vote seem to be roughly evenly distributed and tend to cancel each other out.


Tom, just to clarify and maybe plug one nozzle of the flamethrower, by "shouldn't vote" you mean "are not technically legally entitled to vote"...such as citizens of other countries...and not "people I think are too dumb/too smart/too black/too white/too rich/too poor" to vote, right?


Well, to completely defeat the whole purpose of not wanting to get flamed, I'll have to clarify: Yes, I am talking about people who are too uninformed to vote. I don't mean "dumb," I mean people who haven't made even a token effort to find out the issues, the candidates, the offices, or anything. I witnessed waaay too many people who actually told us they are voting alphabetically or randomly, or because their name sounds like a guy they used to go to high school with. And I can't imagine how many people did the same thing without telling us. And their vote counts the same as mine?

I guess there is no real solution: I suppose if you want to be the "Last Name Starts With A-G Party" I guess that's your right, but it doesn't make for a healthy democracy. That's why I don't really like the registration drives and such: they're just adding more people like that way out of proportion.

I want everyone to vote. But I'd rather you not vote at all then to vote ill-informed.

(I have plenty of other opinions regarding our participatory democracy, but I think that's enough for now...)
 
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Flying Arrow
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I think someone should pass a simple ten question multiple choice test before voting. With all of the answers provided on a piece of paper that can be referenced while taking the test. And multiple chances to pass. Simple things related to (very) basic economics, the structure of the government, and the platform of the major parties.
 
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