Should we let 12-year-olds vote?

Boosts appreciated for sample size.

@yuki May I ask what exactly you're suggesting here?

@yuki I know about Boaty McBoatface. Are you suggesting that situation, in which *Internet users* (not 12-year-olds) voted on a silly name for an AUV, is at all comparable to young people having a say in how the communities they live in are run?

Partly, but at 12 you simply don't know shit about what's going on in the country and you're much more vulnerable to propaganda.

Also, deciding the future of a country isn't a burden that children should carry - that's why adults take care of those things.

Finally, a child could easily be coerced into voting for a certain candidate, even more than an adult.

More than a help, children would be an additional vulnerability in the democratic process.

@yuki Well, thank you for explaining, at least.
Also, perhaps the video I linked above will interest you. At the least, it's an interesting question to think about.

@yuki @delve

Are you suggesting that if we allow 12 year olds to vote then the result will be Votey McVoteface winning the election? Because that sounds fucking awesome! It's not like our last 46 presidents were any good.

@delve I was thinking of letting 16- or 15-year-olds vote, so I'm not sure which answer I should give. Like, I'm in favor of lowering the voting age, I'm just not sure we should lower it that far

@delve Im still deciding where I fall on this. I think children should have political input, at the very least, on the issues in their community.

I think giving 12 year olds the ability to set and veto the budget might be a fun start.

@Truck That's a good question, and I intentionally left the poll vague to get an idea of people's biases and get people thinking about it.
The video that I linked mentions the presidential election, but it also talks about more broad government stuff.

In general, I suppose the broad question involves anything that affects 12-year-olds; in the USA (where I live), that would include POTUS/VP, Congress, state officials, constitutional amendments, mayoral elections, boards of education, and so on.

@delve I think a 12 year old has the capability of understanding this, but likely needs to be shown the outcomes so they understand what is happening _after_ they vote.

This would involve, in the US (where I went to school but no longer live) revamping the public education system to actually educate.

Yes, there will be some kids who don't get it, or don't want to, and there will be kids who aren't ready. But there will be kids who are, and they should be encouraged to learn about it, then participate - preferably in local elections first. Things like referendums ... and things affecting their school budget.

"Where should the money for our schools go" is certainly something that kids who are 12 would be better helping to decide than a LOT of "adults."

Again, this is with a program of 'study how it works; see what happens when the voting occurs and after; how to prepare for voting; how to vote; how to deal with the results not being what you voted for."

@delve Now, that won't happen, because informed, educated voters are a threat to the existing US systems.

Those are based on keeping a 2 party system in place where they can blame each other, and never actually make any changes.

Can't have people expecting changes, or knowing how to affect change. Keep them hopeless and demanding that the 'wrong ones' are the problem.

@delve Fuck it. Let 12 years old vote. They're not any more likely cause harm than the GOP

@delve I'm a bit surprised by the amount of votes for "no" in this poll. I kind of thought it would have been the other way around.

@delve If we let 12-year-olds vote, what's next? 13-year-olds?!


It is interesting how a tiny little part of my brain wanted to equate "vote" with "run the country"

And that's very much not the case, of course, but i wonder how many people against also equate the two without realising?

@certifiedperson @delve We sure did until someone pointed out that it was just letting them have a say in how their world worked.


Yes. Giving 12 year olds the vote means that politicians will have to at least pretend to care about what they want as a bloc. Children are an incredibly oppressed class, and enfranchising more of them is the bare minimum for fixing that.

I expect many 12 years would like things like education reform, the ability to stop living with abusive parents, more control over their own money...

Also intersectional issues would come into play. (Eg what white vs black 12 year olds want)


“If we let 12 year olds vote, their vote might be swayed by an adult” is parallel to “if we let women vote, their vote might be swayed by their husbands”, and the second argument was wrong so

If a 12 year old is being abused or coerced by an adult in their life, wouldn’t it be logical to give them some power to offset the adult/child power imbalance? In particular, the power to vote on laws to make things more fair for their demographic?

@delve imo the voting age should be whatever age you're legally free of your parents, because as long as you're essentially a slave to legal wardens, you can just be coerced into voting the way they do. (sure, they aren't actually allowed to follow you into the booth, but they can do absolutely everything other than that)

but i also think you should be free of your parents earlier than 18. like, not *only* legally, but we should encourage individuality earlier too, and destroy the horrid societal convention of parents acting as dictators instead of humble caregivers.

@V @delve I would seriously argue for having no lower limit on voting age.

@woozle @V @delve i mean shit people vote for people because "oh they seem like someone i'd like to have a pint with", voting for someone because they have a silly name is no less ridiculous than that

@delve I’ve seriously been thinking about whether instead of 18, the voting age should be 16 instead, since you may already have formed your political personality by then and be able to overview some consequences. 12 I think is too low for that, I’d like to set it more at the end of puberty rather than the beginning.

12 year olds should definitely be listened to one way or another, as they can make a lot of sense. How this would work I don’t know.

I notice that in many countries, not being the US, age limits seem defined by whether your decisions could have consequences for your life (like consenting to sex, usually at 16, sometimes 15) or yours and other people’s lives (like driving a car, usually at 18). So to me the question is whether your voting decision influences your life or also that of other people. I’m not decided yet. Maybe since these other people vote themselves as well, the argument would be for 16.

The argument about government documents being prepared for the reading level of 12 year olds doesn’t mean to me that they have full compression at that time, but that they are expected and enabled to start forming their world view at that age. And that some adults have that reading level.

@gidi @delve I& you're old enough to have a job, you're paying income tax. Income tax and not voting means taxation without representation.

Also if you are old enough to accept a loan (for school) you're definitely old enough to vote

@delve I was a child not too long ago, so still vaguely remember what it's like. But still, I had to vote for no.
I didn't know *anything* about politics back then. Didn't care to, either. If my parents were that type of people -- fortunately, they are not -- it would have been incredibly easy for them to convince me to vote for whoever they liked. I was starting to rebel a little, as all teens do, but for the most part I still believed they knew better about these things than I.
Lowering it to 16? Absolutely. I am decently confident that I would have been able to make a choice then that ... well, I can't say if it would've been right, but it would've been one I'd still agree with now. But the amount of twelve-year-olds that are both willing to vote and capable of enough critical thought is too small for it to be worth it.
Let them enjoy not having to care about the hell that is politics for a while longer. 🙂

I actually used to watch Nick News and sometimes read the news paper as a 12 year old. I wasn't into politics but I did care to know what was going on.

That said, I wouldn't let 12 year old me vote. It's so sad because even typing this I feel like I'm betraying myself. I totally wanted a say back then but honestly I was so easily swayed back then by everyone. Teachers, my big brother, my parents, my church.

@Mayana @delve
Also, I do like what you said about, "Let them enjoy not having to care about the hell that is politics for a while longer."

@crasher35 Yeah, I felt I was betraying young me there, too. And obviously, I did watch the news with my parents on the TV -- but how much was actually understood, how much actually stuck?
It is not necessarily a valid argument, in my opinion, looking at what some children already learn in school at that age. I've learned -- and will be learning -- a lot in school. But learning it just well and long enough to pass the exam is much different from actually *understanding* it.
Voices of children should be listened to. They should be taught that they have them and how to use them. Greta Thunberg is an obvious and great example.
But voting? That is something that even many adults aren't capable of taking seriously, even though they should.

@Stellar @delve If the US didn't do such a good job of burying 3rd party choices(not sure I even knew of such a thing at 12) I'd be for this just for the lulz write-ins.

@Stellar It was an honest question, if that's what you're asking.

@Stellar I have.
If you'd like to know why I asked, the question, I was just curious to see what people would say.
This is the video that got me thinking about it:

@delve definitely not as young as twelve. I'd be in favor of lowering voting age to 16, maybe 15, but definitely not as low as 12.

Most twelve-year-olds simply aren't mature enough to make themselves well-informed enough to make that kind of decision.

So, giving twelve-year-olds the vote is basically giving an extra vote to parents.

@delve Should we let 80+ year olds vote?

I like the idea of kids voting on what concerns them, buy also think in general independence is important. This even more depends not being able to prove what you have voted.

@delve I said no because while I think the voting age should be reduced to 16, that's because from 16 it is legal to work full time (at least here in the UK) and so currently 16 & 17 year olds are able to be paying tax without being able to vote for their elected representatives. Before 16 children should be provided for and be in education and not paying tax so representation is less important (though not entirely because children's rights are important)

@wolfie Departing from such a point it is pretty easy to arrive at the argument that the influence of people on politics should scale with the amount of tax they contribute, and that people that are unemployed or unproductive for a plethora of reasons beyond their control (like economy, disabilities, disease) are ineligible to vote, inevitably commodifying votes and tying citizenship and individuality to taxation and economic productivity.

@wolfie The right to representation should instead extend from the right to live, and we must take into consideration that the right to vote itself also constitutes a delegation if power and representation and thus a social contract, for which the sane basis is equality and equal importance. @delve

@cadadr @delve well obviously that's not what I'm saying, but it is legal to work full time over 16, so representation should be given to people over 16 whether they work or not for whatever reason/ability

@delve IDK how serious this is but anyways: so long as what we vote for is so wrong in worlds democracies, who gets to vote is not a decisive question but an electoral hack. We have no mechanisms of making politicians and bureaucrats keep their promises, be honest, and act in our interests, modulo shame, which is a trait politics selects against, and incrimination, which proved its worth when the US failed to punish Trump.

What needs fixing is the mechanisms & extents of delegation of power.

@cadadr @delve This is the real issue - having a widely spread right to vote is necessary simply to make govt pay attention to a wide range of people. Having transparency in government operations and proper consequences for poor performance is more important than expanding the voter base.

@delve i can imagin letting 12yo vote only in a society where 12yo are considered as human enough to make their own choice. In the present family model, i think it would basically mean "letting parents have more votes than non-parents".

@chjara @delve just imagine the number of fascists those cunts would elect

@delve i think for this to be a good idea, we should also be restructuring society to let 12 year olds have actual rights and more autonomy and agency over their lives than we do now, so they can have more life experience and a basis to vote on.

@KitRedgrave @delve Yeah. I agree with the idea of letting them vote *in theory*. But the thing is, most 12 year olds don't have enough experience to put any of the choices into context.

Like, most kids at that age take up the doctrine of their parents, right? Most of the time they grow out of it, but at that age they're still extremely suceptible to abusive pressure from parents to vote as the parent does.

As an anecdata, when I was 12 I believed that climate change was a hoax, and (shortly after the age of 12) was also an insufferable pro-GamerGate Atheist™. Later on I grew out of it. When I was older, had learned more perspectives than just the ones shown to me by my school and my parents, and learned how to assess information critically and how to acknowledge other people's points of view.

So, I would say "yes", except it has to be paired with critical thinking, media analysis, and other kinds of useful teaching that allow children to assess the information. Even then, I'm not entirely sure I would trust media analysis classes that are given to children. For an American example, look at how the state of Texas has changed it's textbooks to rely on religious teaching, lmao
@KitRedgrave @delve Like, the critical concept here is that as a child you're vulnerable to pressures from everyone around you, your emotions and sense of self are not very well developed. Often, such as in the case of school and many communities on the internet, these pressures will be abusive in nature. And at that age you don't have the ability or experience there to distinguish and parse that sort of thing
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