Scott Hardie | April 21, 2003
There's a small movement here in Florida to lower the legal voting age to 16. (Here's the site, and here's a news article about it.) The reasoning is, if you have to pay income taxes at that age, it amounts to taxation without representation. Never mind that it's a federal income tax, since Florida doesn't have a state income tax, but hey, you go, teens! I doubt this movement will succeed, especially because the state has been trying very hard to legitimize its electoral system since November 2000, but I still like the idea.

Jackie Mason | April 22, 2003
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Scott Hardie | April 23, 2003
I don't necessarily disagree with you Jackie, but lately I have been bothered by several discussions with friends who thought that certain types of people should not be allowed to vote: poor people, in this case young people, and especially stupid people. This is sickening to me. It reminds me of blacks being denied the right to vote in the south between emancipation and the 12th-14th amendments. It just seems inherently very wrong to me to deny someone's right to vote just because they might produce an disfavorable result. Holy shit, maybe somebody has a different perspective than us rich educated white people!

The friends in these discussions advocated the electoral college, with its electors' ability to override the popular vote in their assigned area when necessary. They argued that if a warmongering moron or a crooked scoundrel were to win the popular presidential vote with an emotional appeal to the stupid voters, that some kind of system ought to be in place to prevent that. If that's true, why should we vote?! Let's drop the sham of Election Day and save millions of dollars every November and March. I'd honestly rather have a terrible president elected by the people than a good president designated against their will. It's just plain wrong to create a system that denies the majority of the people what is rightfully theirs, and it's high arrogance to claim that doing so is in everyone's best interests!

Anna Gregoline | April 23, 2003
Besides, look how great the electoral colege worked out.

Aaron Fischer | April 23, 2003
Hmmm... I think we all remember the last time the fine residents of Florida tried to vote in a presidential race. Changing the rules will only confuse them more. :)

Jeff Flom | April 26, 2003
Minors have (virtually) no rights and that is not a situation that is likely to change anytime soon. I could not agree more that it is very wrong to think that a group of people should not be allowed to vote just because they belong to that group. However, you have to draw the line at youth. I think we would all agree that we are born with no knowledge of the outside world. We grow and learn and one day become independent human beings who are capable of understanding ourselves and our situation. This age of course differs for each individual, however, I do not believe that most people at 16 years old are mentally developed to the point where they are independent. At sixteen there is a large percentage of boys who have not even finished puberty yet.

Matthew Preston | April 27, 2003
Like most things, I believe there should be a competency test. Have it be like getting a license. Show up, take a written test, and make an effort to be allowed to vote. Only the teenagers who REALLY wanted to vote would put any effort into accomplishing this. Those who showed this effort would have my blessing to vote.
Of course it would cost tax payers money to happen. Just a thought.

Erik Bates | April 27, 2003
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Scott Hardie | April 28, 2003
I'm with you for damn sure on this one, Erik. Even aboriginal cultures have rites of passage that definitively separate children from adults. It's necessary to be clear about such things in the interest of fairness, and letting someone drive a car five years before they can drink a beer is not clear or fair. I'm all for each state having the legal right to set its own age limits, but I think we'd be better off if we did agree on one age for everything.

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