Why Not Let Kids Vote?

Sure, it sounds radical ... at first
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 4, 2011 11:58 AM CST
Why Not Let Kids Vote?
Voters, accompanied by their children make their choice in a polling booth at the French Embassy in Bern, Switzerland, as they vote in first round French presidential elections on Sunday, April 22, 2007.   (AP Photo/Keystone, Peter Klaunzer)

Japan’s population is aging, and the Economist thinks that should worry you. (Of course, notes Michael Kinsley, “the number of things the Economist would have us worrying about is alarming in itself.”) But in this case, the article spawned something nice: A fresh idea to discuss. “Not necessarily a good idea, but a fresh one for sure,” writes Kinsley on Politico. Namely, the idea one Economist reader wrote in response to the article: Why not let Japanese kids vote? Or, rather, let Mom and Dad vote on their behalf? And while we’re at it, why not do the same thing in America, which has a similar problem?

As it stands right now, after all, “every politician invokes ‘our children’ as the most important consideration on every issue, and then, having done so, is free to ignore them.” This move would redistribute political power to those with more at stake. Of course, the idea isn't without pitfalls, Kinsley writes. Responsible parents, torn between their own best interests and their children's, may effectively cancel themselves out. Other parents, recognizing that they will one day be grandparents, may side with seniors. And what if we just gave teens the right to vote? "Can we count on them to study the issues and the candidates, discuss and weigh them, and exercise this solemn privilege with the care it demands? Oh, probably not. But how about the average adult?" (More vote stories.)

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