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March 09, 2004

Too Old to Rock and Roll, Too Young to .. uh Vote?

Summary. A California legislator has proposed a bill to change the state's constitutional amendment to allow teenagers as young as 14 to vote.

Narrative. Sen. John Vasconcellos, D-Santa Clara, wants to give 14- and 15-year-old the vote - but their vote would only count as a quarter of a vote. He would alos allow 16 and 17 year-olds to vote - and their vote would count as half a vote.

Issues raised. Though the blogosphere (Well, the links at the bottom of Discountblogger's post aobut it anyway) doesn't seem to want to actually discuss the various issues raised, there are some.

1. Clearly this is an idea to get young people in on the voting thing early - to get them invested in the people who - like it or not - really do have a lot of influence on their lives and their wallets.

2. State Sen. Vasconcellos seems to be puttign great faith in the smarts of young people "
saying the Internet, cellular phones, multichannel television and a diverse society makes today's teens better informed than generations of their predecessors."

In other words he isn't just saying "I have great faith in our young people." He's acting on that belief.

3. It's being proposed by a Democrat. It seems to have other Democratic party support. The only local Republican response I heard quoted was on CNN at the restaurant where I had lunch. That person said, "That's the most ridiculous thing I've heard in a long time." Not dismissively, of course. It just comes across that way to teenagers. And to me.

4. If approved it would begin in 2006.

5. Believe it or not, some 17-year-olds already vote. If I had lots of readers, I'd get a good response to this question, but - do you know the situation where they do - at least in some states?

6. If this became law, the issue of "academic liberalism" would get VERY hot indeed. Then we'd have .. ah, can't remember his name ... David Horowitz? all over the TV. That's the biggest downfall side effect I can see. - the rising star of Horowitz, not the other since it would rightily become an important issue.

7. It's 0.5 and 0.25 because these voters don't pay near the same taxes as over 18s. They do pay sales tax, however.

8. More on the blogger response. Discountblogger likes the idea*** but doesn't say why (not that he has to, just an observation), and he has some catchy side effects (though going back for DB link I did just notice that each and every funny line is a link to Wonkette in a tired attempt to get some link love back. He is a self-professed linkwhore though.

(UPDATE 13:54 3.10.04 - Turns out it was a guest blogger who made the post. My bad. As I said, in comments below: "Guess it's not link whoring if you're doing it for someone else's site."

This other guy, with pretensions who always was a lame attack dog comment-ator at HowardOwens.com pretty much dismisses the idea entirely - Memo to Vasconcellos: Baby Xrlq Votes Wee Publican I used to think there was no dumber idea around than allowing eighteen year olds to vote. Then Ass. Man John Vasconcellos did one better. Ass man????.

And in my first visit to Daily Pundit in many many many months, the not-as-Quick as he would like man headlines his piece with Senator Seeks Lefty Student Voters . Gotta love the insight. Hey, I thought this country's young people were becoming more and more conservative, along with the slide right of the whole country? I guess only when it's convenient. (I won't be back unless tricked.)

Pathetic Earthlings says it's a civics lesson, but that's ALL he says.

PS These three are all CA bloggers.

This guy Calblog (not CalPundit) at least mentions that one of his 12 1/2 year-old twins is thrilled about the idea and has complained about it a long time.

I'm tired of looking.

I like the idea as it will get people engaged in the process - especially the smarter ones who will actually vote. The objections that 0.5 and 0.25 figures make it seem sub-human do seem to be missing the obvious point that their vote is 0 and 0.0 now.

Teenagers today may not be more informed about politics and the world in general - they do undeniably have greater "street smarts" on the whole - but they do have the potential to be much more informed than those who came before.