Should we let 12-year-olds vote?
Boosts appreciated for sample size.
@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.
@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 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.
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?
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.
@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.
@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.
@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.
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.
@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.
@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".
@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.
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