FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The New Movement to Lower the Voting Age

The movement to lower the voting age has begun. On January 28th, an ordinance was introduced to the Anchorage, Alaska city council that will lower the voting age to 16 for city elections. After a short but busy period collecting signatures to put the measure on the ballot the local group led by high schooler Corey Rennell has asked the city council to enfranchise them as local voters. If the council decides to pass the ordinance it will become just the second government body to lower the voting age since the 1970s. Last year the city council in Cambridge, Massachusetts passed an ordinance lowering the voting age to 17 for local elections. Local youth groups in North Dakota and Washington, DC are busy working on the issue in their areas as well.

The success of any or all of these campaigns may spawn similar campaigns in cities and states all across the nation. It is coming. Youth are demanding a voice, they are demanding the vote. Allow me to explain why. The last decade was the worst decade for youth in our collective national memory. Despite a great increase in wealth, the public lashed out at our teenage minority in what has grown to be a national hysteria. Curfew laws restricted movement, dress codes silenced individuality, zero-tolerance polices made crimes out of trench coats and saying “bang”, and boot camps emerged as prisons to send anyone who resisted. Against all evidence to the contrary, the public readily accepted Columbine shooters Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris as standard bearers for an entire generation. Despite a plummeting rate of youth crime and a skyrocketing rate of youth volunteerism, the 90’s saw an anti-teen witchhunt that is persisting even now into the next decade. Tired of no respect, many youth are determined not to let the last decade repeat itself.

As our society is a republic, power stems from voting. Politicians listen to those who vote, they respect those who vote. Why is it that in the last decade state governments have begun to take away driving privileges from youth and not from the equally dangerous elderly population? Because seniors vote, youth don’t. Why is it that politicians fight to provide the best medical benefits and handouts to seniors while stealing funds from education? Because seniors vote, students don’t. Granting youth the right to vote will confer upon them the respect from lawmakers that they deserve.

The chief concern among skeptics is that young people are not mature or intelligent enough to vote properly. While this is a legitimate concern, I wonder why these same concerns have not been raised among adult voters. There are no tests, no qualifications, no restrictions to prevent certain adults from voting incorrectly. In the 2000 election, elderly Florida Democrats accidentally voted for right-winger Pat Buchanan rather than Vice President Al Gore. Yet, no one called for disenfranchising older voters, and rightly so. What, I wonder, would be so wrong with affording this same respect to young voters under 18?

I have the utmost confidence that the average 16 year old has as much sense and intellect to cast as valid and informed a ballot as the average 40 year old. We just have to give them the chance, and I urge you to do so. When a petitioner knocks on your door in North Dakota to put language on the ballot to lower the voting age to 16, please sign it. When your Washington, DC city council is asked to consider lowering the voting age, please support it. And when the Youth Rights movement reaches your town, wherever you may be, please support the struggle they have begun.

ALEX KOROKNAY-PALICZ is President & Executive Director of the National Youth Rights Association.

 

More articles by:

November 15, 2018
Kenneth Surin
Ukania: the Land Where the Queen’s Son Has His Shoelaces Ironed by His Valet
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Spraying Poisons, Chasing Ghosts
Anthony DiMaggio
In the Wake of the Blue Wave: the Midterms, Recounts, and the Future of Progressive Politics
Christopher Ketcham
Build in a Fire Plain, Get What You Deserve
Meena Miriam Yust
Today It’s Treasure Island, Tomorrow Your Neighborhood Store: Could Local Currencies Help?
Karl Grossman
Climate of Rage
Walter Clemens
How Two Demagogues Inspired Their Followers
Brandon Lee
Radical Idealism: Jesus and the Radical Tradition
Kim C. Domenico
An Anarchist Uprising Against the Liberal Ego
Elliot Sperber
Pythagoras in Queens
November 14, 2018
Charles Pierson
Unstoppable: The Keystone XL Oil Pipeline and NAFTA
Sam Bahour
Israel’s Mockery of Security: 101 Actions Israel Could Take
Cesar Chelala
How a Bad Environment Impacts Children’s Health
George Ochenski
What Tester’s Win Means
Louisa Willcox
Saving Romania’s Brown Bears, Sharing Lessons About Coxistence, Conservation
George Wuerthner
Alternatives to Wilderness?
Robert Fisk
Izzeldin Abuelaish’s Three Daughters were Killed in Gaza, But He Still Clings to Hope for the Middle East
Dennis Morgan
For What?
Dana E. Abizaid
The Government is Our Teacher
Bill Martin
The Trump Experiment: Liberals and Leftists Unhinged and Around the Bend
Rivera Sun
After the Vote: An Essay of the Man from the North
Jamie McConnell
Allowing Asbestos to Continue Killing
Thomas Knapp
Talkin’ Jim Acosta Hard Pass Blues: Is White House Press Access a Constitutional Right?
Bill Glahn
Snow Day
November 13, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
The Midterm Results are Challenging Racism in America in Unexpected Ways
Victor Grossman
Germany on a Political Seesaw
Cillian Doyle
Fictitious Assets, Hidden Losses and the Collapse of MDM Bank
Lauren Smith
Amnesia and Impunity Reign: Wall Street Celebrates Halliburton’s 100th Anniversary
Joe Emersberger
Moreno’s Neoliberal Restoration Proceeds in Ecuador
Carol Dansereau
Climate and the Infernal Blue Wave: Straight Talk About Saving Humanity
Dave Lindorff
Hey Right Wingers! Signatures Change over Time
Dan Corjescu
Poetry and Barbarism: Adorno’s Challenge
Patrick Bond
Mining Conflicts Multiply, as Critics of ‘Extractivism’ Gather in Johannesburg
Ed Meek
The Kavanaugh Hearings: Text and Subtext
Binoy Kampmark
Concepts of Nonsense: Australian Soft Power
November 12, 2018
Kerron Ó Luain
Poppy Fascism and the English Education System
Conn Hallinan
Nuclear Treaties: Unwrapping Armageddon
Robert Hunziker
Tropical Trump Declares War on Amazonia
John W. Whitehead
Badge of Shame: the Government’s War on Military Veterans
Will Griffin
Military “Service” Serves the Ruling Class
John Eskow
Harold Pinter’s America: Hard Truths and Easy Targets
Rob Okun
Activists Looking Beyond Midterm Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Mid-Term Divisions: The Trump Take
Dean Baker
Short-Term Health Insurance Plans Destroy Insurance Pools
George Wuerthner
Saving the Buffalohorn/Porcupine: the Lamar Valley of the Gallatin Range
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail