Allowing Minors to Vote
Posted by Michael Dickens on July 9, 2009
Inspired by The Last Minority, but with a less catchy title.
As you may have noticed, minors are not allowed to vote. This is nothing but discrimination. “But minors are different”, you say. Well, so are women. But they can still vote. “But women’s brains are fully developed and minors’ brains aren’t”, you say. Well, true. But the brain isn’t fully developed until age 25. So why is the legal voting age 18?
The mind truly develops the core of rationality at age 12 to 14. At that point, the mind becomes free to form its own decisions and escape from previous boundaries. So I propose that the legal age be lowered to 13.
“But,” you say, “many teenagers are cynical and apathetic and will contribute nothing!” Maybe so. But they will simply not vote, and nothing will be lost. “But some teens aren’t responsible!” In response I ask, Where does responsibility come from? I don’t have any real evidence, but it seems to me that responsibility only comes when it is necessary. People do not magically become responsible at age 18. Or maybe, in a sense, they do: all the acquired power and expanded social abilities lead to a heightened sense of responsibility. Enfranchisement is a major way to make someone feel that they truly are a part of society and have a say in it. So allowing voting at age 13 will increase the feeling of importance and personal responsibility in teens.
Everyone capable of making rational decisions should be allowed to vote. Most teenagers can make perfectly rational decisions, and are free of many of the biases that come with being an adult. There is no legitimate reason to disenfranchise minors aged 13 to 18.
The observant reader may notice the unusual categorization of this post. To understand why, read The Last Minority.