4 thoughts on “My Call to End the Voting Age

  1. What age do you think should be the minimum age to vote ? Having no minimum voting age would be inappropriate and absurd. Very young children lack the the appropriate amount of sound judgement to be enfranchised. Please e-mail me back at your earliest chance. Thank you.

    1. Yes, as this post states, I do believe in eliminating the voting age entirely. However, I do not need to argue this point; instead, I’ll refer you to others who’ve written about the need for this eloquently and powerfully:

      * Kevin Wordelman on WesternHerald.com
      * Katrina Moncure in “Who Gets to Vote?”
      * Duncan Lindsey in “Why Children Should Have a Vote”

      Here is a great collection of resources on the topic. Finally, for an essential dramatic argument for eliminating the voting age, watch this.

  2. Since our discussion from almost 2 years ago, I among most people find that it would inappropriate to completely eliminate the voting age due to the fact on balance young children would not understand the long term ramifications on what they voted for and how they voted. I still stand by what I said. 18 is an appropriate age to start voting. Just because you do not have people being drafted right now does not mean that 18 is an arbitrary age to start voting. The links you gave me to read have read already. Please e-mail me back.

    1. Sometimes, Randall, there are things to understand and know that aren’t necessarily agreed with by society. There are beliefs, ideas and activities that don’t make sense to a lot of people. As an advocate, I’m not compelled to do what others think I should; instead, I follow my heart and mind and take inner guidance on where I’m at and where I’m going.

      Reflecting on more than 20 years of working with children and youth across the United States, I realize that I have seen a generation of youth who constantly strive, constantly achieve and constantly exceed society’s wildest expectations of them. However, young people are doing this with the barest minimum support from society-at-large. We barely fund the schools they attend; we scrape up just enough money for low-income young people; we routinely profiteer off locking up youth who offend the law in order for private companies to make money off them; and just as soon as we can, society throughs young people into war, college or the workplace in hopes that they’ll make it all on their own.

      I’m of the firm belief that our society should take responsibility for the decisions we make. All of the experiences of children and youth today are not the fault of their families or the fault of young people themselves. Instead, they are the outcomes of our society as a whole. Childhood homelessness? Society. Childhood hunger? Society. Failing students? Society. Abused young people? Society. Youth offenders, dropouts, child prostitutes, child slaves, child labor, all of this? Society.

      However, its not just the actions of young people that society is responsible for; its also the feelings and beliefs of young people. As a society, we drive children and youth to think and feel the ways they do. That means that when young people feel distrust, apathy, despair, depression, hopelessness, hurt, anger, frustration and any feelings that make adults uncomfortable, its not just their job to “pick themselves up by their bootstraps” and make themselves feel better. Society must take responsibility for what we’ve done.

      I want to change this crummy situation. I want to see things be radically different for children and youth today than ever before. After more than 20 years working in education, social services and government to promote the health, welfare and empowerment of young people, it is my responsibility to demand more. While there are many, many ways to get that done, I believe one of the most responsible and genuine ways to transform our society is by enfranchising every child everywhere with the right to vote in every election all of the time.

      Given the right and responsibility of the vote, children and youth can begin to hold society responsible for the attitudes, actions, beliefs and outcomes that it has routinely dumped on young people for thousands of years. One of the constructs in our society has been to see young people merely as adults-in-the-making, rather than seeing them as full humans right now. As voters, adults will not be able to deny the capabilities of young people; they won’t be able to deny the validity of young people; and they won’t be able to deny the power of young people AS young people, which is what they’ve always done.

      I respect your right to disagree with me about this issue Randall, and I thank you for writing and calling me continuously with your concerns about it. However, I hope that you can respect my position, as well: All youth, everywhere, all of the time should have the right and responsibility of voting today.

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