When 16-year-olds Can Vote

By:  Selwyn Duke
11/01/2012
       
When 16-year-olds Can Vote

A desire to extend suffrage to younger adolescents is nothing new. A few nations have already made the move, and approximately half of U.S. states allow 17-year-olds to vote in primaries and caucuses. And some Americans would take it further. Executive director of the National Youth Rights Association, Alex Koroknay-Palicz, wants to grant voting rights to 16-year-olds; and former California state senator and then septuagenarian John Vasconcellos (D-Santa Clara) proposed in 2004 an idea called “Training Wheels for Citizenship,” which would have extended voting rights to kids as young as 14.

If they don’t get wisdom from the mouths of babes, that’s okay. Votes are all they really want.

In Argentina, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and her ruling Victory Front coalition have succeeded where certain American leftists have thus far failed. They have passed a bill allowing 16-year-olds to vote.

The desire to extend suffrage to younger adolescents is nothing new. A few other nations have made the move, and approximately half of U.S. states allow 17-year-olds to vote in primaries and caucuses. And some Americans would take it further. Executive director of the National Youth Rights Association, Alex Koroknay-Palicz, wants to grant voting rights to 16-year-olds; and former California state senator and then septuagenarian John Vasconcellos' (D-Santa Clara) advanced age didn't stop him from advancing our decline. Vasconcellos — famous for advocating the “self-esteem” movement — proposed in 2004 an idea called “Training Wheels for Citizenship,” which would have extended limited voting rights to kids as young as 14 (and he wanted to grant them full rights).

Quite apropos, this effort to empower the immature is supported with juvenile arguments. For example, this Debatewise.org article states, “Studies show voting is a habit that has to start early. If people don't start out as voters, they're less likely to ever vote.”

But why not then extend voting rights to seven-year-olds? After all, the formative years are thus called because that’s when habits are formed. And any (good) parent knows that if you wait till adolescence to instill habits — governing manners, language, work ethic, etc. — it’s too late. So perhaps it’s time for a Cartoon Network constituency.

Click here to read the entire article.

Selwyn Duke (photo)

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