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Children's Suffrage?


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Poll: Should minors (people younger than 18) be allowed to vote? (78 member(s) have cast votes)

Should minors (people younger than 18) be allowed to vote?

  1. Yes and I am a minor. (14 votes [17.95%])

    Percentage of vote: 17.95%

  2. Yes and I am not a minor. (6 votes [7.69%])

    Percentage of vote: 7.69%

  3. No and I am a minor. (14 votes [17.95%])

    Percentage of vote: 17.95%

  4. No and I am not a minor. (44 votes [56.41%])

    Percentage of vote: 56.41%

Vote

#1    Druidus

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 06:50 PM

If you say yes please sign my petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/voteall/petition.html

Ok, the meat of my post:

The Condition of Children
The largest category of poor in the Unites States are children. There are more than 14 and a half million children in the United States who live in poverty, while more than 5 million children live in families with less than half the poverty line income. Too young to carry their own cause, these children often suffer out of the limelight and in silence. These figures seem implausible in a nation of such enormous wealth.

Why have we allowed such poverty to persist among such a precious resource as our children? It certainly isn't because we don't know what to do. Child welfare policies and programs that could end child poverty have been available during the last several decades. This isn't rocket science. Nor is it the cost of these policies and programs which stops us. As the Children's Defense Fund has pointed out, we could end child poverty for less than three percent of all federal spending.

There is a collective will to end child poverty and support for the expenditure required, even in a time of massive federal government budget deficits. It isn't the money that stops us. What prevents us from ending child poverty? The fundamental problem is that our political system fails to provide a mechanism that lets the interests of children to be represented. In modern democratic societies like the United States, political power derives from the vote. Those who can vote are able to assure that their needs and interests are protected. Yet, children are unable to vote.



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Imagine
One could imagine the consequences for any particular group if they lost their right to vote. Their interests would depend on the good will and sympathy of others. Perhaps their rights would be protected by the courts. But in very real terms, their interests and needs would rapidly fall in importance among elected officials.

One could imagine, for example, about what would happen to seniors, if a law was passed ending the right to vote for those over 65 years of age. It wouldn't take long for the Social Security System to be raided. Seniors would find Medicare and Medicaid being gutted. The condition for senior citizens would rapidly decline. In no time at all, seniors might find themselves in the same situation as children. Seniors would lose their political power and become dependent on the good will and sympathy of others who have their own compelling interests.


One in five children in North America live in poverty. The enormous wealth of these countries makes this fact almost incomprehensible. Nevertheless, children have seen their needs placed at the back of the national agenda. Several years ago all of the major political parties in Canada agreed to an idea called Canada 2000. Accordingly, the goal was to unite and work together in a non-partisan basis so that by the year 2000 poverty among children would be eliminated. To date, very little action has followed these words. The goal was a noble gesture that has failed to produce any real programs or policies. As with so many other pronouncements on behalf of children, they end up, over the long haul, to be empty promises. Too many other concerns surface that have more powerful voting blocks and constituencies behind them. Lacking political power, the concerns of children are set to the side. If we ever hope to end widespread poverty among children, then we need to think about ways to insure that the interests and needs of children are represented. We need to think what, until now, has been unthinkable.

Until children have representation in the democratic political system, their needs will be neglected. Progress toward gaining children the right to representation will take time. Efforts to lower the voting age will require a constitutional amendment in the United States. However, until we recognize the centrality of the child's right to vote, progress will be episodic and short lived.



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Enfranchising Children

We need to consider giving children the right to vote at age 16 (or even 14 after they have developed the required formal thought processes) or the right to assign their proxy. Obviously before they develop the cognitive skills and emotional maturity necessary for making difficult political judgments, children cannot be expected to vote. Perhaps these children should have their right to vote exercised by proxy. We could assign their proxy to their principal care giver. If children were given the franchise, then their interests and needs would receive attention equal to other groups in democratic society. To restore our obligation to children will require imaginative solutions that today seem unthinkable. It wasn't that many years ago when blacks were denied to right to vote. Women received the franchise with the 19th Amendment in 1920. Perhaps we can experiment with giving children the right to vote. Until children have the right to vote, we may simply continue a cycle of concern and neglect of children's issues that has failed to produce substantial progress.

It might be argued that providing women with the right to vote has not really led to fundamental changes or improvements for women. Unquestionably, progress for women has been too slow. But it would be hard to imagine what the situation of women would have been (or would become) without the right to vote. It would be unthinkable to even imagine a situation where women were denied the right to vote.



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Conclusion
Government establishes the rules the community will abide by in deciding how resources (such as the Gross Domestic Product) will be distributed. In a society where special interest politics shape governmental interests, those groups able to fund the campaigns of elected officials will see their interests protected and legislation which is favorable to protecting and improving their interests enacted. Likewise, those groups who are unable to make substantial contributions to the campaigns of elected officials will see their interests go unprotected. Further, those groups, such as the poor, who have historically recorded low voter turnout will be especially vulnerable. And most of all, those who do not vote (i.e., children) are unlikely to have their interests protected and will likely fare poorly in competition with others in the arena of political decision-making.

We can lay the foundation for ending widespread poverty among children only by empowering the children themselves. This will require giving children the right to representation. The mechanism for achieving this representation will require creative and innovative problem solving, but we can do it. What we need to do is give up some of our own power so that children can have what we already enjoy. It won't cost us any money. It won't add to the federal deficit. But it will add to the political and moral wealth of the nation. We ought to be able to enter the next millennium with our children having equal representation in our political institutions.

-http://www.childwelfare.com/kids/kidsvote.htm


Why is it that mentally disabled and/or senile people can vote but those under 18 can't?  With minors being allowed to vote, we will finally have a voice in present day society.  Germany is starting this already.  They are considering parents being given a proxy vote, for each child they have.  The vote comes from the child, for the childs interests (well supposedly).  The next step is for children of all ages being allowed to vote without needing a proxy voter.

Don't worry about 2 year olds and the such voting randomly.  They have to express an interest in voting to be able to.  And besides, it's already been proven that a larger percentage of votes go to whatever is at the top on avereage.

Politicians will finally consider that children have problems and that solving them will draw more votes in for them.

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#2    Druidus

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 09:06 PM

It is my hypothesis that the majority of people over 18 will vote no while minors will vote yes.  It coincides with women's suffrage.  The majority of men said no, whil the majority of females said yes.  We fought for all colours of man to be allowed to vote, and we fought for all women to be allowed to vote, even against much prejudice.  We will see the same prejudice now, again.  Novel ideas incite fear, based on ignorance and bias.

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#3    Aslan

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 09:12 PM

But don't you think that there's a fundamental difference between racially equal sufferage among adults, to take one of your examples, and giving 8 year olds sufferage ?


#4    chico del nacho

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 09:14 PM

from what i've seen, the majority of people below the age of 18 don't know the difference between an orange and desk. there are exceptions, of course, but i think that majority of minors voting will prove that their opinions do not, in fact, matter a bit.

i still vote for social democracy. it's like communism lite! only 1/3 the calories of normal communism!
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#5    wunarmdscissor

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 09:26 PM

To be honest with you i would say the vast majority of people under 18 are basicall to inexperienced to be given a vote. Unless youve lived in the real world you dont understand the real world. Its also a problem that i have with most students as wll over 18 or not. BTW i am also a student however i havent always been.

That is not to say that all over 18's are mature enough either.

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#6    Fenris

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 09:48 PM

The reason minors are considered minors and in most parts of the world so attempt to give them additional protection under the law is that they haven't the experience or capacity to make decisions and judgement calls at an adult level.

Some, no doubt will mature at a faster rate and be responcible to do so at 16... others develop late an maybe still living in the basement relying on mommy to make all the major decisions when they are 30.... but individual cases don't fit in a catch-all law. Society takes a stance at where it is believed the majority are capable of adult level decisions and responcibility (Typicaly 18, or in some places I believe 21)

Now I don't know about you but I take the political enfranchisement pretty seriously and consider it an ADULT responcibility requiring a mature and considered decision making process.

Ergo, not the province of minors!

In the dead of night
A shimmewin' wight
Gweem of a bwade
And dah devew was paid
When dah axe comes down
A chiwin' sound
Steel hits da head
Anothaw wabbit's dead
I'm a wabbit swayer
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With a nasty habbit

Kill dah wabbit!!! (hah hah hah)
AhhhaahooOhhh

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And I pwedict
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Kill dah wabbit!!!
Kill dah wabbit!!!
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#7    Druidus

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 10:05 PM

Yes but only the minors with the actual desire to vote will.  If a child is understanding of the voting process and has clear opinions of what he or she wants than they should get a vote.  Mentally disabled people and senile people are allowed and they probably are even less able to choose than a minor...

The point is only people who want to make changes will vote.  Why would a politician look after the needs of children right now?  There isn't a real reason.  But if they can vote, then indeed, they must try to please the minors.

You cannot arbitrarily choose an age and say that people are only ready to vote at that age.  You can drive before you can vote.  You have to hand over money to the government, before you can vote.  Why should any of my money go to the government, if I can't choose what is done with that money?  Perhaps the best way to choose who can vote and who can't, is to have an exam on politics, that shows whether or not you understand it.  If you do you can vote, if you don't then you can't.  There would be a new test every year.

Then the children who do vote will at least know what's going on.  They will have to have an interest in politics to even want to attempt the test.

Age, sex, sexuality, race, all those can be discriminated against.  This is a form of discrimination.  Just because you are younger doesn't mean you are stupid.  I follow politics very closely and so do a lot of my friends.  Just because we are young, doesn't mean we shouldn't have a voice.

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"The most damaging phrase in the language is: "It's always been done that way."

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#8    chico del nacho

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 10:20 PM

QUOTE
Yes but only the minors with the actual desire to vote will.


or, ya know, the ones that intentionally want to mess with the electoral process. but that's just a relaistic thought there  grin2.gif  

i still vote for social democracy. it's like communism lite! only 1/3 the calories of normal communism!
whoever said "money can't buy happiness" was never poor.
I think there's something innately wrong about most people to inspire alien curiousity.
i'm so proud of this post...
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#9    Druidus

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 10:24 PM

As I said, they would still have to pass that exam...

Also, don't you think that adults do that too?  I know lots of adults who would try to screw the electoral systems.

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"Anarchy is not chaos, but order without control."  

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"The most damaging phrase in the language is: "It's always been done that way."

My Psionics forum -  http://s7.invisionfr...dex.php?act=idx

#10    zet

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 10:45 PM

Children always has been the easy target of exploitation.
That is because they are dependent, they can't their own living.
Since they make no money, they are poor as well.
Parents are to provide economic support for their own children.
And yet, are you saying that you would give additional power to
those who fail to do their job?
Those proxy vote will be again exploited by those parents.
One of the serious flaw in the law is the reduction of tax or even welfare
with many dependents, mainly their own children.
I mean someone can have 10 children and sit home relaxing,
while someone with no children works all day and see like half of his earning
taken as tax.  
Children poverty is a problem inherited from their parents.
There are series of requirements for adoption to ensure adopted
children's well-being.  But are there any for own children?
Instead of putting out fire, we should prevent it from happening.
Limit on number of children, and maybe charge for additional child
if they want to have more, to reduce the problem of over population as well.

"Why is it that mentally disabled and/or senile people can vote
but those under 18 can't?" <- you are just mocking them, do you think
they will vote on their own with free will and decision?  


#11    Seraphina

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 10:45 PM

No, I don't think they should...

Children aren't given the right to vote because they're inexperienced and impressionable. Giving them the right to vote, even with an exam, wouldn't be allowing for a more representational vote, it would be providing more votes to whoever their parents voted for, irrespective of political agendas and policies.

There's nothing wrong with the age being 18...there needs to be a line drawn between being PC, and being ridiculous. I certainly know for a fact I'd rather not see the future of my country placed in the hands of a bunch of 10 year olds, who'd be running down to their local pole center to vote for the British National Party, because they were copying their teacher, who happened to be a closet Nazi.  

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#12    Druidus

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 10:55 PM

Then perhaps for all issues dealing with minors, minors should vote.  I suppose you also wouldn't want people who do vote for the British Reform Party to vote either?  If you had the power, would you take away there voting rights, simply because they don't vote like you?  Did you know that about 80% (can't recall the exact number) of adults vote for the same party their parents did?  I don't think the addition of children who are able to write such an exam will cause problems with such amazing voting methods in place already...  rolleyes.gif  

~~~Official Giver of Fishysticks~~~

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"Eudaemonia is not merely anarchy, but life without need."

"The most damaging phrase in the language is: "It's always been done that way."

My Psionics forum -  http://s7.invisionfr...dex.php?act=idx

#13    chico del nacho

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 10:58 PM

i've decided to vote for the group with the most convincing commercial, since no matter who's in office in canada, they won't actually help us westerners. except the marijuana party. but i don't trust a bunch of stoners with the country.

i still vote for social democracy. it's like communism lite! only 1/3 the calories of normal communism!
whoever said "money can't buy happiness" was never poor.
I think there's something innately wrong about most people to inspire alien curiousity.
i'm so proud of this post...
Seriousness is stupidity sent to college. -P. J. O'Rourke
Seriousness is the only refuge of the shallow. -Oscar Wilde

#14    snuffypuffer

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 11:34 PM

No child should be able to vote, they are too susceptible to peer pressure and can't yet totally think for themselves.  We have enough trouble with people who vote strictly according to party lines already.  Could you imagine the shape we'd be in when we give political power to a bunch of 13 year olds who are simply following the clique?

Nothing to see here.

#15    Novo

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 11:52 PM

Its seems to me like we all agree it doesnt work either way eh?  rolleyes.gif  

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