Bill would lower voting age to 14

A proposed amendment to California's constitution would give 16-year-olds a half-vote and 14-year-olds a quarter-vote in state elections. State Sen. John Vasconcellos, D-Santa Clara, was among four lawmakers to propose the idea on Monday. [...]

"When we gave the vote to those who didn't own property, then to women, then to persons of all colors, we added to the richness of our democratic dialogue and our own nation's integrity and its model for the world," Vasconcellos said, calling it time to further extend the vote.

A Republican colleague said it was "the nuttiest idea I've ever heard."

[...] Vasconcellos said the reason for not giving teenagers a full vote was "strategic. "If I said 16 full and 14 full, I think it wouldn't have much legs." But he added, "In my heart I think 16-year-olds should be given a full vote."

See Also: Wild in the Streets (1968), Logan's Run (1976) (the book was better.)

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40 Responses:

  1. 33mhz says:

    A Republican colleague said it was "the nuttiest idea I've ever heard."

    It's funny, but I just assumed it was a Californian republican thing, because this would be very good for securing Arnie's eventual reelection.

    • greyface says:

      Said Assemblyman Ray Haynes, R-Murrieta: "There's a reason why 14-year-olds and 16-year-olds don't vote. They are not adults. They are not mature enough. They are easily deceived by political charlatans."

      The above quote is actually my favorite line. And to it, I mentally append: "... my goodness, why didn't we think of this. It's sheer brilliance!"

      But I guess the Republicans trade on the "Rebel by 20, Establishment by 30" thing, rather than noticing that they have basically, all of the money to spend in politics. (Not that I have a problem with money, just that the Republicans have the budget to make deception and charlantanry work for them).

    • Are you kidding? Republicans are terrified of young people.

      The owner of Urban Outfitters is a staunch Republican who makes some pretty hefty contributions to the party. This would explain why the stores are now carrying a rather controversial T-shirt that reads: "Voting is for old people."

  2. substitute says:

    His Self-Esteem Commission in the 80s was one of the funniest things ever to come out of Sacramento.

  3. batmite2000 says:

    Yep, the Logan's Run book was better! :)

  4. devpreed says:

    Why stop at 14?

    12 year olds should get an eighth of a vote, 10 year olds a 16th of a vote, 8 year olds a 32nd of a vote...

    California could lead the nation in baby voting rights by granting newborns one 512th of a vote!!!11!!eleven!

    Talk about a new voting block.

  5. Considering that we already try teenage crime suspects as adults, why should they have adult responsibilities without having adult rights?

    • jlindquist says:

      If you're going to go that far, then I think you gotta give the kids full votes. 'Cause they don't give them half or a quarter or an eighth of an adult sentance.

    • sethg_prime says:

      Furthermore, children who make over $4,750 in a year have to file a tax return. Whatever happened to the principle of "no taxation without representation"?

      • vample says:

        Welcome to life as a tax paying adult living in Washington DC.

        I'm paying plenty of taxes this year and get no voting representation in the legislative branch. I want my vote before they hand them out to the kids.

  6. kchrist says:

    See Also: Wild in the Streets (1968), Logan's Run (1976)

    Don't forget Children of the Corn.

    He Who Walks Behind the Rows in 2008!

  7. rakafkaven says:

    To make it more clear just how much of an idiot I am, I must say that I knew of this proposal before reading your post.

    Nevertheless, my first reaction upon reading your subject line: "Who the hell is Bill?"

  8. hafnir says:

    Actually I think Lord of the Flies comes to mind....

  9. g_na says:

    Let's see...a 14-year-old's vote counts, but a 20-year-old can't legally drink?

    Although, if the 2000 election was anything to go by, the 1/2 and 1/4 vote thing won't really matter anyhow.

    • rantzilla says:

      Personally, I think that the voting age, the driving age, the drinking age and the "killing and dying for your country" age should all be the same; and 16 sounds about right.

      • jwz says:

        Sixteen year olds seem, on average, about as mature as most adults, so that doesn't seem too unreasonable to me. (I know many adults who stopped at about 13, of course.)

        But this would turn the power structure of the country on its head, because almost everyone who still lives with their parents is a Libertarian.

        • ioerror says:

          Even if they are a libertarian, they are almost certain to be very apathetic and they won't vote given the right to do so.

          Hence the ever popular quote:
          "If voting changed anything, they would have made it illegal."

        • harryh says:

          > because almost everyone who still lives with their parents
          > is a Libertarian.

          What? Why do you think so? I would imagine that within a small degree of error most 16 year olds would vote the same way as their parents (if they voted at all).

    • justinmm2 says:

      The reason the drinking age is 21 is because there are powerful lobbying organizations (like MADD) who fought to set it that high, and who I'm sure would put up a pretty good fight if anyone ever proposed changing it. When do you think the last time anyone sat down in front of a congressperson and said "The drinking age should be lower" or "The voting age should be lower"?

      Same thing goes for copyright law. Disney, Microsoft, the MPAA/RIAA, etc. are all spending millions of dollars every year to fight for "stronger" IP laws. But how many free software activists or organizations are out there doing the same? There are a few, but not as many, and they aren't nearly as well-funded. Bob Young, Paul Jones, myself, and a few others went to Capitol Hill as part of a delegation from the now-defunct Red Hat Center a few years ago to address John Edwards and a few other senators about this issue. They were certainly aware that this is the case, and had a very good understanding of our points. However, Disney continues to throw money at them, and trying to load should show you where the Center stands today.

      As a result of the experience, I came away thinking that on a federal level, I'm not entirely sure politicians attempt to affect change without being lobbied. I really don't think many of them say "I could introduce (or repeal/edit) a bill that would improve society" unless they think it would boost their position in the polls, or, well, they had a (n often financially) vested interest.

      I certainly hope things are different on a state level. Nothing in the article indicates this proposal is financially influenced, so I really hope it's just the Senator's good idea. Is this just a way for him and his fellow Democrats just a way to get votes? Maybe. I'd love to hear debate on that subject from his opponents, as I think it's something that merits investigation. But I'd also like them to address why they think members of an informed populace with current or imminent civic responsibilities shouldn't be allowed to vote.

  10. waider says:

    Wait, people still say, "persons of colour"? Are us caucasian-types transparent or something?

  11. and wondered what his angle was :-)

  12. The voting age should definatly not be changed. Heck the average person can't even really read a nonfiction novel.

    Most teenagers are just going to vote for whoever P-Diddy says is cool.

    I suggest changing the voting age to 30. Or coming up with some other merit based prerequisit. But we all know that anything based on merit is inherantly racist.

    • thealien says:

      Two points:

      1) A novel is fiction.
      2) Perhaps the test of merit could involve spelling?

    • raindrift says:

      Determining who gets to vote based on merit is an inherently flawed concept. The whole point of democracy is to give people some control over the political system in which they themselves live (whether we actually meet that goal in this country is questionable). It doesn't matter if you're dumb as a post, you still deserve the opportunity to determine your own destiny.

      • Giving every illiterate fool the right to vote doesn't give them control over their desiny, it gives control of their destiny to their brain washing mass media overlords.

      • jwz says:

        Blah blah blah blah Electoral College blah blah blah blah blah Democratic Republic blah blah.

    • zrkoz says:

      I am 13, and I know who I want to be president for the 2008 election. I did some research and discovered that I wanted John Edwards to win. But then I discovered that his campaign manager is anti-israel. So, I scratched him off of the list. Then I did more research and I now want Joe Biden to win, unless Al Gore ends up running!!!!!!!!!!!!
      I know who I want to win, Joe Biden.
      Unless Al Gore ends up running.
      Then I want Al Gore.