Resolved: Raise the Voting Age

 
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“I don’t know anything, but I feel very good about myself.”

The 26th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified in 1971, lowering the voting age to 18. Back then, it made sense, as there was a mandatory draft. How — it was asked — could we send these young men off to war and deny then the right to vote?

Also, 18 was different then than now. There were more responsibilities and more to expect out of an 18-year-old in 1971 then today. Instapundit Glenn Reynolds (also a Univeristy of Tennessee law professor) wrote an article in USA Today addressing the pearl-clutching, precious little snowflake mentality of college students, arguing:

But now I’m starting to reconsider. To be a voter, one must be able to participate in adult political discussions. It’s necessary to be able to listen to opposing arguments and even — as I’m doing right here in this column — to change your mind in response to new evidence.

This evidence suggests that, whatever one might say about the 18-year-olds of 1971, the 18-year-olds of today aren’t up to that task. And even the 21-year-olds aren’t looking so good.

Whoa, those students better upload their puppy videos and bust out their coloring books: this guy is advocating to take away their vote! No more Rock the Vote concerts or free Dave Matthews downloads just for registering! No more pathetic celebrity pandering and videos of Lena Dunham dancing in her underpants (unlinked to protect the innocent)!

I like this idea a lot. It is true that today’s college students are too immature to vote; if you need a “safe space” to protect you from hearing ideas that you disagree with, then you have proved to society that you can’t vote. Sure, it’s unfair to informed millennials, but no one said life was fair. As for the military, I think we can keep if at 18 for those in the military, produce a military ID (GASP an ID) and you can vote at 18. Also, this will help with those millennials who would otherwise vote Republican but for whom those pesky social issues get in the way. My contention is that those millennials would never have voted Republican, anyway: if it is that easy to reject a candidate’s arguments for limited government and federalism — and, in its stead, embrace the huge, all encompassing, suffocating, pro-government party — then they really aren’t for limited government

So what do you think? Repeal the 26th Amendment? Raise the voting age to 25 and lower the drinking age back to 18?

Published in Domestic Policy, Politics
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  1. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    Like.

    • #1
  2. Whiskey Sam Inactive
    Whiskey Sam
    @WhiskeySam

    I would not be opposed to raising it, but the ages for voting, drinking, and military eligibility should all be the same age whether it’s 18, 21, or 25.  If you’re considered an adult for one of them, you should be considered an adult for all of them.

    • #2
  3. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    What is the voter-turnout rate for people aged 18 to 21? Raising the voting age probably isn’t necessary.

    • #3
  4. Mate De Inactive
    Mate De
    @MateDe

    Whiskey Sam:I would not be opposed to raising it, but the ages for voting, drinking, and military eligibility should all be the same age whether it’s 18, 21, or 25. If you’re considered an adult for one of them, you should be considered an adult for all of them.

    I did suggest allowing those in the military to ablility to vote, even if under 25.

    • #4
  5. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    I’m not particularly optimistic about this group, but there are plenty of  people of varying ages who aren’t up to the task of voting either and who are just as clueless about life’s responsibilities.  I don’t see a reason to draw the line here.

    • #5
  6. Mate De Inactive
    Mate De
    @MateDe

    Hoyacon: I don’t see a reason to draw the line here.

    It’s a good start

    • #6
  7. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Mate De:

    Hoyacon: I don’t see a reason to draw the line here.

    It’s a good start

    Jeopardy!  What is “a bus under the river with 100 lawyers in it”?

    • #7
  8. Buckpasser Member
    Buckpasser
    @Buckpasser

    I thought you could be 25 and still be on Mommy and Daddy’s health plan.  The administration apparently does not consider 25 year olds adults.

    • #8
  9. Mate De Inactive
    Mate De
    @MateDe

    Buckpasser:I thought you could be 25 and still be on Mommy and Daddy’s health plan. The administration apparently does not consider 25 year olds adults.

    I think it’s actually 26. But that is a really great point.

    • #9
  10. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Raise the minimum voting age to 25.

    Set a maximum voting age of 65.

    • #10
  11. livingthehighlife Inactive
    livingthehighlife
    @livingthehighlife

    What problem is this trying to solve?  If it’s stupid voters, age is irrelevant.  If it’s immaturity of either thought or action, age is irrelevant.

    I’d prefer every voter be given a quick one answer pop quiz to determine if they are worthy of the responsibility of voting.  Either ask every voter to name their state representative, US rep, a true/false question about a specific clause in the Constitution (i.e. “Does the term “separation of church and state exist in the US Constitution?”), etc.  Failure to give the proper response results in denial of a ballot.

    It’s about time we start demanding a more intelligent electorate, regardless of age.

    • #11
  12. PHenry Member
    PHenry
    @PHenry

    “Young adults don’t vote conservative enough so lets revoke their suffrage”.

    This plan is somewhat as cynical as the Democrat strategy to dilute the vote with liberal ‘dreamer’ immigrants.

    18 is an adult, even if many of them don’t seem to be aware of it. Revoking their vote would only infantilize them more.  They need more responsibility, not less.

    Instead of gaming the electorate, lets make a reasoned and passionate defense of our positions, then like good participants in democracy, leave it to the voters to choose?

    • #12
  13. Mate De Inactive
    Mate De
    @MateDe

    livingthehighlife:What problem is this trying to solve? If it’s stupid voters, age is irrelevant. If it’s immaturity of either thought or action, age is irrelevant.

    I’d prefer every voter be given a quick one answer pop quiz to determine if they are worthy of the responsibility of voting. Either ask every voter to name their state representative, US rep, a true/false question about a specific clause in the Constitution (i.e. “Does the term “separation of church and state exist in the US Constitution?”), etc. Failure to give the proper response results in denial of a ballot.

    It’s about time we start demanding a more intelligent electorate, regardless of age.

    I agree a Civics test for voter registration is a great idea and I would advocate it’s implementation, but I still would like to raise the voting age  in this day in age 18 is too young. Also it’s obvious the left wants younger and younger voters because they are easier to manipulate.

    • #13
  14. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley
    @AmySchley

    Miffed White Male:Raise the minimum voting age to 25.

    Set a maximum voting age of 65.

    I’ve always liked the plan David Weber created for the Star Kingdom of Manticore — tally up all the government payments/subsidies one receives, subtract that from one’s income, and if the number is positive, one gets to vote.

    • #14
  15. Mate De Inactive
    Mate De
    @MateDe

    Amy Schley:

    Miffed White Male:Raise the minimum voting age to 25.

    Set a maximum voting age of 65.

    I’ve always liked the plan David Weber created for the Star Kingdom of Manticore — tally up all the government payments/subsidies one receives, subtract that from one’s income, and if the number is positive, one gets to vote.

    To be honest I would even prefer it to go back to property owners, if  only for local elections. If local politicians can raise property taxes on those who own property,  yet those who don’t own property can still vote for those politicians that is obviously an unfair.

    • #15
  16. thelonious Member
    thelonious
    @thelonious

    If one is old enough to be tried as an adult and serve in the military they should also have the right to vote and enjoy a cheap adult beverage.  Good booze shouldn’t be wasted on the young.

    • #16
  17. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley
    @AmySchley

    Mate De: To be honest I would even prefer it to go back to property owners, if only for local elections. If local politicians can raise property taxes on those who own property, yet those who don’t own property can still vote for those politicians that is obviously an unfair.

    Eh, except that renters do pay property taxes. They’re just wrapped up in their rents.  And trust me, as a renter in a low tax county considering moving to a higher tax county, the difference is very much reflected in the rents.

    Now, California’s thing where tax bills can never go up more than 2% a year is terrible — that lets everyone vote for higher property taxes and other laws to increase property values safe in the knowledge that they won’t actually pay for them.

    • #17
  18. Mate De Inactive
    Mate De
    @MateDe

    Amy Schley:

    Mate De: To be honest I would even prefer it to go back to property owners, if only for local elections. If local politicians can raise property taxes on those who own property, yet those who don’t own property can still vote for those politicians that is obviously an unfair.

    Eh, except that renters do pay property taxes. They’re just wrapped up in their rents. And trust me, as a renter in a low tax county considering moving to a higher tax county, the difference is very much reflected in the rents.

    Now, California’s thing where tax bills can never go up more than 2% a year is terrible — that lets everyone vote for higher property taxes and other laws to increase property values safe in the knowledge that they won’t actually pay for them.

    That is any tax. All Sales tax, any corporate tax, it is always paid by the consumer. As the saying goes, “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.”

     

    • #18
  19. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Mate De:

    Amy Schley:

    Miffed White Male:Raise the minimum voting age to 25.

    Set a maximum voting age of 65.

    I’ve always liked the plan David Weber created for the Star Kingdom of Manticore — tally up all the government payments/subsidies one receives, subtract that from one’s income, and if the number is positive, one gets to vote.

    To be honest I would even prefer it to go back to property owners, if only for local elections. If local politicians can raise property taxes on those who own property, yet those who don’t own property can still vote for those politicians that is obviously an unfair.

    I am for this also.  There also has to be a definition of property to keep the system honest.  I can see the Dems purchasing an acre of land and parceling it out to a million people so they can vote.

    • #19
  20. Spin Inactive
    Spin
    @Spin

    Win the culture.  If you can’t win the culture, don’t create bandaids.  They make it worse.

    • #20
  21. Mate De Inactive
    Mate De
    @MateDe

    Spin:Win the culture. If you can’t win the culture, don’t create bandaids. They make it worse.

    Yea, I agree but in the meantime raise the voting age. The point of Glenn Reynold’s piece and what I was pointing out is that 18 today is not the same as 18 in 1971. 18 year olds are children now, who can’t handle debate and all this stuff happening on college campus’ proves this. Now is it their fault, no, it is the helicopter parents, self-esteem gurus, and leftist professors and teacher all up and down the educational system. This is what all this feel good, participation trophy, no score keeping, no red pen when marking test idiology has wrought. Sure raising the age is a band aid but we have to stop the bleeding before we can heal.

    • #21
  22. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    Maybe 30?  Or we could go back to educating them and sending out to work.

    • #22
  23. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Limit suffrage to individuals of any age that pay more into the government’s coffers than they receive in benefits, subsidies, salary, or contracts from the government.

    If a young person pays more in tax than they receive in health/education/welfare subsidies, it’s a pretty good bet that they are mature enough to vote.

    (The biggest objection I can foresee to this policy is that it would disenfranchise those in the armed forces, law enforcement, and firefighters.)

    • #23
  24. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    thelonious:If one is old enough to be tried as an adult and serve in the military they should also have the right to vote and enjoy a cheap adult beverage. Good booze shouldn’t be wasted on the young.

    I agree with all of this. We can survive 18 year-old voters, but if a kid tries to mix Laphroaig with Pepsi, we have to intervene.

    • #24
  25. Mendel Inactive
    Mendel
    @Mendel

    Mate De:

    Sure raising the age is a band aid but we have to stop the bleeding before we can heal.

    Is there any evidence that 18-21 year olds – especially 18-21 year olds on elite college campuses – actually vote in large enough numbers to change the outcomes of elections? All of the evidence I have seen suggests otherwise.

    I also think these college kids are a poor example. The ones making the news are a tiny minority of all 18-21 year olds, and using a small minority to change an important law is always unwise.

    It certainly does seem like there are broader shifts in the mentality of young adults between today and, say, 25 years ago. But I don’t think these criteria are sufficient to change the voting age.

    • #25
  26. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Vance Richards:

    thelonious:If one is old enough to be tried as an adult and serve in the military they should also have the right to vote and enjoy a cheap adult beverage. Good booze shouldn’t be wasted on the young.

    I agree with all of this. We can survive 18 year-old voters, but if a kid tries to mix Laphroaig with Pepsi, we have to intervene.

    Any 18-year-old that can afford to buy Laphroaig better not be paying for it with taxpayer dollars!

    • #26
  27. Mendel Inactive
    Mendel
    @Mendel

    It seems like a “let’s restrict the right to vote” thread pops up with some regularity on Ricochet, and every time it does people chime in with alternative ways of restricting the vote.

    And inevitably the most favored way is the “let makers vote, not takers” proposal.

    I think the sentiment behind this idea is a good one, but don’t forget that the natural tendency of any voter is to improve their own situation at the expense of others. If only net payers could vote, they would still find some way of sucking off the state teat while maintaining their official “maker” status.

    Indeed, look at the Chamber of Commerce lobby. In a sense, the Chamber of Commerce represents the ultimate makers: businesses, most of which genuinely add something productive to society. Yet they still manage to use their position as makers to extract lots of favors from the state.

    In short: no matter how much we restrict the vote to only the most enlightened, those enlightened will still find a way to mess it up.

    • #27
  28. Mate De Inactive
    Mate De
    @MateDe

    Is there any evidence that 18-21 year olds – especially 18-21 year olds on elite college campuses – actually vote in large enough numbers to change the outcomes of elections?

    I do realize that this is a minority of college students on campus, that need safe spaces and are demanding all sorts of ridiculous things. BUT there is a reason for Rock the Vote (which was around when I was 18) and all these other pandering videos to get young people to vote but I don’t think it’s necessarily to swing elections now but get them into the party. Brand loyalty is very strong in people and like with advertisters the young are an important demographic because once locked into a brand people tend to stay with that brand, the Democrats want to get them in young so that they stay that way all their life. Especially at a time where you really don’t know anything.

    I would be prefer a Civics test, something that shows you understand our system of government. Even if a person is a leftist as long as they know the impact of their vote.

    Also, I hear a lot on this site how Republicans need to change their tone in order to appeal to the young voter. If they are so insignificant why does any party have to pander to them? obviously there is a reason The Dems push for young voters

    • #28
  29. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Mendel: It certainly does seem like there are broader shifts in the mentality of young adults between today and, say, 25 years ago. But I don’t think these criteria are sufficient to change the voting age.

    I disagree. Young adults in the 1990s were just as vacuous as those today. Remember, that was the golden age of “anti-globalization” protests like the “Battle of Seattle“.

    However, since young adults in the 1990s were greatly outnumbered by people over the age of 30, their votes weren’t nearly as valuable to politicians.

    That is not nearly as true today.

    Current US Population Pyramid

    screenshot.10

    Source: http://populationpyramid.net/

    • #29
  30. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Mendel: Indeed, look at the Chamber of Commerce lobby. In a sense, the Chamber of Commerce represents the ultimate makers: businesses, most of which genuinely add something productive to society. Yet they still manage to use their position as makers to extract lots of favors from the state.

    Yeah, and if the value of the favours they receive exceeds the amount they pay into federal coffers, they too should lose the franchise.

    I leave the problem of how to actually quantify this phenomenon in practice to others.

    ;-)

    • #30
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