Resolved: Raise the Voting Age

 
IMG_0711

“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
Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 84 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    I’ve always thought the voting age should go back to 21. I was horrified when they lowered it and I still am. I don’t care if the law thinks they’re adults. I mean has the law met ’em?! They’re not adults.

    • #31
  2. Barkha Herman Inactive
    Barkha Herman
    @BarkhaHerman

    I think that if a person can be taxed, they should be allowed to vote.

    • #32
  3. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Barkha Herman:I think that if a person can be taxed, they should be allowed to vote.

    Do you mean even sales tax? Payroll taxes on a 16-year-old working part-time at McDonald’s? To me, the criterion should be the ability to comprehend the true consequences of voting for one side over another in an adult manner.

    • #33
  4. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    Raise the voting height.

    6′ minimum.

    • #34
  5. PHenry Member
    PHenry
    @PHenry

    RightAngles: To me, the criterion should be the ability to comprehend the true consequences of voting for one side over another in an adult manner.

    that leaves out over half of the current voting public… Thus, Obama!

    • #35
  6. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    PHenry:

    RightAngles: To me, the criterion should be the ability to comprehend the true consequences of voting for one side over another in an adult manner.

    that leaves out over half of the current voting public… Thus, Obama!

    It arguably leaves out over half of any voting public … Thus, politicians.

    • #36
  7. Douglas Inactive
    Douglas
    @Douglas

    Mate De:

    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.

    This. If you’re in the military, you get to vote, drink, smoke, at 18. Everyone else, raise the voting age to 30. Because much of that generation couldn’t wipe their own rears without step by step instructions.

    • #37
  8. A-Squared Inactive
    A-Squared
    @ASquared

    For what it’s worth, I would rather just reinstate the real property ownership requirement in order to vote.

    If an 19 year old welder has a job and owns his own home, I’m fine with him/her voting.  Not so much a 25-year old living in his/her parents’ basement.

    People who own property have a vested interest in the future of this country.  People who don’t have a vested interest in the future of this country vote for stupid stuff.

    • #38
  9. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley
    @AmySchley

    A-Squared:For what it’s worth, I would rather just reinstate the real property ownership requirement in order to vote.

    If an 19 year old welder has a job and owns his own home, I’m fine with him/her voting.

    People who own property have a vested interest in the future of this country.

    So I was more to be entrusted with the vote when I was living in my house and not paying my mortgage for two years than now when I live in an apartment and promptly pay my rent?

    People who are net makers have a vested interest in the future of the country as a whole. Retirees who paid off their mortgage and demand increases in Social Security and Medicare funding don’t. People squatting in their houses waiting for foreclosure don’t. Landlords who get government Section 8 subsidies don’t. Property ownership is no guarantee of fiscal conservatism.

    • #39
  10. A-Squared Inactive
    A-Squared
    @ASquared

    Amy Schley:

    Property ownership is no guarantee of fiscal conservatism.

    Agreed, but it is a better indicator than age.

    Every system will have some type 1 and 2 errors.  The point is to find the best approximation of Aristotle’s ideal of rule by the middle class.

    the best constitution is one controlled by a numerous middle class which stands between the rich and the poor.

    To me, property ownership is the best and easiest tool to accomplish this, though I’m open to other ideas.

    • #40
  11. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    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.

    Boy, all those Millennials who owe taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars for their college education might be disqualified under that plan.

    Citizens who receive Medicare and social security payments have had 15% of their paychecks deducted their entire working lives and can at least claim paying into the system. Employers get hit twice; we have to match our employees 15% on our end as well.

    • #41
  12. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley
    @AmySchley

    EThompson: Boy, all those Millennials who owe taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars for their college education might be disqualified under that plan.

    And if we’re going to take the vote away from the young and feckless, this seems more fair than doing so by age, don’t you think?

    • #42
  13. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    Raise the voting age to 25 and lower the drinking age back to 18?

    Well, I certainly agree with the latter! The idea of having to go off campus to throw a keg party in college would have been simply unacceptable. :)

    • #43
  14. A-Squared Inactive
    A-Squared
    @ASquared

    Amy Schley: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.

    The 24th Amendment seems to present an obstacle to this.

    The Twenty-fourth Amendment (Amendment XXIV) of the United States Constitution prohibits both Congress and the states from conditioning the right to vote in federal elections on payment of a poll tax or other types of tax.

    FWIW, I would be happy to repeal several Constitutional amendments, including this one.

    • #44
  15. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    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?

    Well said.  We should extend the vote down to newborns, as they have the greatest stake in the future.  Man up, little man!  We will have no arbitrary distinctions made here — someday soon, science will let you vote from the womb.

    Also, my dog is like family, and I will defend to the death his right to life, liberty and the pursuit of Milk-Bone dog treats.  Who are you to object?  Make your arguments instead of disenfranchising the least among us.

    • #45
  16. OmegaPaladin Moderator
    OmegaPaladin
    @OmegaPaladin

    Voting by real property ownership is just going to encourage people to buy property recklessly.

    • #46
  17. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    OmegaPaladin:Voting by real property ownership is just going to encourage people to buy property recklessly.

    Oh, that’s not a problem.  More precisely, it solves itself.

    • #47
  18. The Cloaked Gaijin Member
    The Cloaked Gaijin
    @TheCloakedGaijin

    Change the Constitution over stupidity?

    I think it’s still an immigration problem, although Jonah Goldberg has mentioned that extended voting periods have cranked up the youth vote demagoguery.  White voters 18 to 29 year old voted for Romney, 51%-44%.

    “Among self-reported voters who were 18 years old in 2012, Mitt Romney, not Obama, won the majority: 57 percent. Romney also won 59 percent among 19-year-olds, and 54 percent among 20-year-olds.” — John Sides, March 10, 2014, washingtonpost.com

    Millennial voters, ages 18-29, are not as decidedly Democratic as when Barack Obama is on the presidential ticket.

    • #48
  19. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    The cohort of new eighteen-year-olds is here.  The latest one to leave the nursery of societal beliefs and values, and join the generation who apply the ideas they learned at the polls.

    Which ideas are those?  As in every society, those of their teachers.  In a normal society, the teachers mainly represent the societies values and beliefs.

    In ours, they don’t.  The teachers are determined not to see our liberal society survive and grow stronger, but to destroy it from within, and replace it with a new, illiberal kind which they believe will usher in a paradise on earth.

    Regaining control of our own children’s upbringing would be hard work and take a long time.  And after all, if we who value freedom and responsibility, justice, civility, and truth were really into teaching, we wouldn’t have gradually handed over our public schools and colleges to brilliant radical progressivists and their slightly dull-witted stormtroopers, who hate these things.  Nor would we have surrendered those other rooms in the cultural “nursery”: our congregations, our press, our entertainment industry, and so on.

    But now comes along a much easier idea!  Simply ask the (now fervently anti-liberal) majority to approve raising the voting age just enough to disenfranchise themselves, and give electoral control (for exactly one year) back to the older generations.

    If we raise it to just catch the last of the dying Greatest Generation, we will have an only moderately progressivist electorate. Till next year.

    • #49
  20. Tom Meyer, Ed. Contributor
    Tom Meyer, Ed.
    @tommeyer

    Vance Richards: 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.

    I wish that was a CoC violation.

    • #50
  21. Tom Meyer, Ed. Contributor
    Tom Meyer, Ed.
    @tommeyer

    Mate De: 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.

    I don’t have a particularly good, viable solution in mind, but my concern with this is that it’s furthering adolescence, a rather regrettable aspect of our culture. As much as possible, I’d rather we demand people act like the adults they are, rather than give them additional excuses to continue acting like children.

    • #51
  22. Wineguy13 Thatcher
    Wineguy13
    @Wineguy13

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

    Higher than I wish it was, even if it is very low!

    • #52
  23. A-Squared Inactive
    A-Squared
    @ASquared

    Ball Diamond Ball:

    OmegaPaladin:Voting by real property ownership is just going to encourage people to buy property recklessly.

    Oh, that’s not a problem. More precisely, it solves itself.

    There are some issues.  What is the minimum property holding?  Without a minimum, MoveOn would just subdivide the vacant lot next to Obama’s house (the lot owned by Tony Rezko) into 300 million separate lots of 1 square millimeter each and sell them for $0.01 each.

    Do condominiums meet the property holding requirement?  Do Co-ops?  Do shares in REITs count?

    I’m inclined to set a minimum value based on a multiple of the median income and allow condo and co-op units to qualify but not REITs.

    But it’s all pipe dream any way.  The left is fully invested in paying welfare recipients to breed more democratic voters, and they will not let anything get in the way of allowing the destitute to unthinkingly vote Democrat.  Heck, asking someone to get a state-issued ID is an outrage.  Imagine trying to re-institute the property ownership requirement.

    • #53
  24. Mate De Inactive
    Mate De
    @MateDe

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    Mate De: 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.

    I don’t have a particularly good, viable solution in mind, but my concern with this is that it’s furthering adolescence, a rather regrettable aspect of our culture. As much as possible, I’d rather we demand people act like the adults they are, rather than give them additional excuses to continue acting like children.

    I would prefer this as well, BUT the “grown ups” don’t seem to be demanding this of them.

    • #54
  25. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    A-Squared: To me, property ownership is the best and easiest tool to accomplish this, though I’m open to other ideas.

    a) So, some uneducated doofus who inherits a patch of worthless desert gets the vote but a highly-educated person who lives in a really expensive rental property doesn’t?

    b) Would condos count? Time-shares? What about expensive co-op apartments and/or other forms of collectively-owned real property?

    • #55
  26. A-Squared Inactive
    A-Squared
    @ASquared

    Misthiocracy:

    A-Squared: To me, property ownership is the best and easiest tool to accomplish this, though I’m open to other ideas.

    a) So, some uneducated doofus who inherits a patch of worthless desert gets the vote but a highly-educated person who lives in a really expensive rental property doesn’t?

    b) Would condos count? Time-shares? What about expensive co-op apartments and/or other forms of collectively-owned real property?

    Your question a is essentially the same question Amy asked, which I addressed the best of my ability in the comment you quoted.

    I addressed question b briefly in comment #53.

    • #56
  27. The Question Inactive
    The Question
    @TheQuestion

    I don’t think it would ever happen, but it makes sense to me.

    Sometimes I think we should eliminate the existing safety net, and give people the option to become wards of the state.  They wouldn’t get to vote, but the state would be responsible for providing them food, housing, etc.  They could resume full citizen rights at any time by giving up their government benefits.

    Likewise, someone who is no longer under the protection of their parents and is on their own would be able to vote at any age.

    • #57
  28. Mate De Inactive
    Mate De
    @MateDe

    Maybe we could link it to emancipation. If your parents are still claiming you as a dependant then you can’t vote until you are filing your own tax returns as an independent adult or link it to Obamacare, if your still on your parents health plan no vote.

    • #58
  29. hokiecon Inactive
    hokiecon
    @hokiecon

    I’m 23. I don’t think even 23 year olds should vote.

    • #59
  30. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    Age 30, active military service, or property owner.

    • #60
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.