Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Lower The Voting Age?

A bill in the state legislature would lower the voting age to 17 if the person were to turn 18 by the date of the general election itself. A report on the bill is here.

I understand the desire to increase voter turnouts. Already we in Tennessee and most other states have extended or early voting to encourage more people to vote. I'm not aware of any studies which show that these increased time-periods to vote have in fact increased turnout. However, I am rather positive it has increased the number of absentee ballots, where most voter fraud actually occurs.

The plain fact is - we are all offered ample opportunities to vote but we are ultimately given the freedom to not participate or vote at all. There's the saying that if you vote, you have a right to complain about outcomes. Nonsense. We have the freedom to not vote and still complain like mad if we wish it.

Is that hypocritical, to not vote but to complain? Perhaps. But the right to complain is just there, and Americans love to complain.

If the wish of the state is to encourage more young people partcipate in elections, why not create the opportunity of school credits if a high-school or college student works in an election office? Too often, election officials stay in their posts for so long it leaves little room for new blood. But a credit and/or mentoring program would surely increase participation best.

Another bill is mentioned in the above article to extend early voting by another week. It seems to me that due to the time involved and long lines of voters due to equipment malfunctions or large turnouts, it would serve the state best if voting days were also a day off from work and school, as with many federal holidays.

Extending voting days also means decreased days of campaigning by candidates.

Why not make the day an official day off?

Would some just take the holiday and not vote? Probably. But most would take advantage of the time off to participate.

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