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Want to Save Democracy? Reduce the Voting Age

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/11/17/want-save-democracy-reduce-voting-age

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Let’s add a required history course using the following textbook: Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, supplemented with materials to address issues that have arisen since it was written.

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Until the focus on civics education is taken seriously around the country, I don’t see this being anything more than an extension of what we have now in our political process. The author may be correct about the level of instruction on the subject in the state of Maine. But very little time is spent on it around the rest of the country. I believe that’s a feature by design, not a bug, by TPTB. Just like our MSM, those in power don’t want an informed electorate.

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Absolutely support the right of 16-year-olds to vote.

i support a Constitutional Amendment extending the voting age to 16; guaranteeing the right to vote to all citizens, with no exceptions, including no exception for convicted felons; and setting a standard for all States to follow for elections. It is idiotic to have 50 different voting systems in the USA.

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Agreed. I find this a very idealistic article and until all its recommended educational tools are used, adding 16 year olds to the mix is not going to help anything. Also, where does one draw the line ? Why not 13 year olds ? It is known that the brain does not mature in important ways until the mid 20’s, (and perhaps never in Trump supporters but not much we can do about that.) So let’s inform schoolkids as best we can, which is only sensible, but lowering the voting age does not seem sensible to me.

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There is no valid reason to allow 16 year olds to vote. Putting aside the fact that their brains are not yet fully developed, they are not, in any legal sense, adults. They cannot be held to contracts, in many states cannot even drive yet, get married (or again, even in some states have sex).

This is merely an attempt to increase a voting bloc that the left assumes will be in it’s favor.

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How about we do away with the Electoral College and the corrupting influence of money in politics.

Then we might actually have a democracy.

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AMEN!!   Having taught chemistry at the high school level to mostly 16- and 17-year-olds, for a few years a long, long time ago I can unequivocally state that IMHO only a VERY few, if ANY, sixteen-year-olds are mature enough to be given the responsibility of voting.  A far better solution would be genetic engineering, so that children develop cocoons at age 13 and do not emerge until at least age 20 or 21.

Simple math. There are around 8-16 million people of age 16 & 17 in the US. There are around 20 million tax payers that are not “eligible” to vote for various reasons including having a record. How about we start with making voting a universal, permanent right for anyone 18 and above as a 1st step, expire electoral college, and deliver some real helpful policies to the majority group that does not find a reason to vote. As, let’s be clear, while 78 million voted for Biden, and 72 for Orange, it was 90+ million who voted for neither and who are the forgotten - or routinely scolded by presidential wives through their super expensive boots or necklaces with the sculpted words ‘vote’. Marie Antoinette anyone?

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Good call. 20-somethings and teens make better voting judgments than their elders.

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REALLY?   Says who??

Better call:  Allow voting only after taking – AND PASSING – a basic class on how voting in “our” representa­tive democracy is supposed to function (or at least how it would function absent big-money influence, lobbyists and gerrymandering).

Well, were we to get reasonable class and administration, perhaps, but that’s wa-a-ay too much to hope for. Such a law would bring a renewal of the old tests to exclude Black voters in the South.

It could, or it could inspire a demand for GOOD education FOR ALL in this country, which is SORELY needed!   It’s no more naive and hopeful an idea than letting “innocent” (i.e. ignorant and easily manipulable) children vote as this article suggests.

Actually, it is more naive, if not more hopeful. Ignorance is a problem; enshrining it and allowing it power of exclusion is worse.

Save democracy? This never was a democracy and it’s not one now. Add whoever you want to the voter rolls, it won’t matter, the same wars will happen, the same inequality, and the same environmental destruction.

This system has always been corrupt and it’s never getting any better. This isn’t pessimism, it’s simply the way things are and have been throughout the history of this country, which is a direct extension of western civilization and the empires of old with a new face, it’s just neofeudalism. The people have bought the lies from power selling them on the idea they are free and have a voice, you aren’t and you don’t.

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Even more important than civics is critical thinking, and understanding of propaganda methods.

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A required participation in helping in elections could be a requirement for graduation. A Civics Course used to be required to graduate in CA. Helping at voting stations or in physically counting votes, would be good lessons in civic engagement. We could go to the reliable, storable and easily maintained #2 pencil to mark paper ballots. With millions of 16-18 year olds being taught and monitored by the current old folks at the polls to count the ballots we would have confirmed,reliable results the next day. But of course the Wall Street owned politicians really don’t want such participation or results.
I would add Ellen Brown’s “Web of Debt” to the required reading list.

Age is not a measure of competency, There should be a test and it would include history. It would be a much smaller voting pool but it could include what was needed to become a competent decision maker.

The average person on the street doesn’t even know who their representatives are much less what they stand for.

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They couldn’t do any worse than the voting public we now have.

Ever heard of Greta Thunberg? Or Joan of Arc? Or Xiuhtezcatl Martinez? Or the Sunrise movement? There are many 16 year-olds who are changing our world to give them a future.

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