Thursday, January 12, 2006

"The right to vote starts at 16"

So says a campaign poster by the votes at 16 campaign.

I was initially impressed with the eye-catching nature of the advert, but the more you ponder on this sentence, the more absurd it seems. Which deity ascribes us the right to go to a polling station once we have been alive for 5844 days? If most of the arguments to reduce the voting age to this number of days of life are cogent, then why are 5843 day olds so inferior?

The only philisophically viable approach to voting age is to either have no voting age at all (I would respect talk of rights in this case), or to believe in a pragmatic starting age - the blatantly obvious watermark in this country being 18, the age of adulthood (although in East Asia, for example, you are not recognised as an adult until 21).


At 5:28 pm, Blogger Chris Palmer said...

I take an active interest in politics, even when I was 16. However, at 16 I had no real idea about politics. I'd like to think that I do now, but I don't profess to know everything. However, the vast majority of young people, especially at 16, take no interest whatsoever in politics.

The vast majority of people who want to see votes at 16 are those set to gain from it, ie. the Liberal Democrats, Greens etc. At 16, and I would say up until about 21 (although I don't personally know) people are very impressionable and easily converted or tricked into voting for something simple. Children of 16 are not that smart, and know very little about the political system and therefore should not have a vote.

Why should someone who is 16, and still at school, not paying taxes or working, still have the same say as someone who is 40, working and paying taxes? They shouldn't.

If anything, I would raise the voting age to 21.

At 5:42 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am 15, I have a part time job and I pay taxes off my paycheck and every time I buy something. I am very politically active and so are most of my friends. Why should I not be able to vote?

At 9:07 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris palmer seems to be making an argument for barring those who do not pay taxes from voting. This does not really support his argument for the age to be 18. Only allowing those who pay taxes to vote would allow 16 year olds repairing RAF eurofighters to vote (there pay is way above the threshold for paying tax) while barring the unemployed from voting.

Daniel Olive, 17

At 1:12 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am 15 and I pay taxes off my paycheck and when I buy stuff and I am also aware of the issues and whats going on politacally, but I represent only a small amount of teenagers in Canada and if I had the oppurtunity to vote, I probably wouldnt because right now, there are so many pressures so voting would only make it worse.


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