January 4th, 2011
06:00 PM ET

Should children have the right to vote?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As things in Washington go from bad to worse, here's an idea that could really shake up the way politics is done in this country: Let children vote.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/images/01/04/art.kids.vote.jpg caption=""]
It may not be as crazy an idea as it first sounds.

Politico.com has a piece about a recent report in the Economist on the problem of Japan's aging population.

The median age of the voting population in Japan will soon be 65. This gives older voters a huge amount of political power - and means it's highly unlikely they'll support cuts in entitlement programs. Sound familiar?

The United States is facing a similar problem: As baby boomers age, entitlement spending is taking up a larger and larger portion of our budget - and growing our deficit exponentially.

Well, one expert who wrote to the Economist suggests an answer to this dilemma is to let kids vote. In practical terms, this would mean giving parents an extra vote for every child.

This would take away some of the voting power from seniors in the United States, who traditionally vote in large numbers. It also could give the future generation, which will have to pay off our massive debt, a say in the decisions being made today.

However, it would also put the responsibility on parents to use those votes in the best interest of their kids.

During the Vietnam War, when young Americans were fighting and dying for their country, the voting age was lowered to 18.

Now that the country is starting to die under the weight of its debt, maybe it's time to lower the voting age again.

Here’s my question to you: Should children have the right to vote?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Cary writes:
I don't see a problem with dropping the voting age to 16. There could be the added benefit of letting children vote at school during school hours so we could increase the number of people voting. I like the logic of them being able to vote on matters concerning debt since they'll get stuck with it.

Nick writes:
Not a bad idea, but the potential for abuse, voter fraud, etc. seems astronomical. I think it's misleading to say "let kids vote". It should be, give parents an extra vote for each child they have. I can't imagine the logistics of trying something like that, however at this point it may be worth a shot.

Lisa writes:
Sure, children should be allowed to vote. After all, they would be voting for their peers.

David writes:
Are you crazy? Most American adults aren't qualified to vote due to ignorance! What we need is a benevolent dictator (for a period of time) to do away with the government. Our current form of government is the problem and not the answer.

Anna writes:
No, children should not be allowed to vote. There is no way to ensure that parents would place the vote that the children want.

Jill in Pennsylvania writes:
Children who pay taxes should be able to vote and have a say in how their money is spent. If a 16-year-old kid has a little part-time job and pays taxes, let them vote. But a 7-year-old voting? No.

Larry in Ohio writes:
Jack, Unless a person is serving in the military, no one under the age of 21 should be allowed to vote. President Obama is living proof that 18-year-olds have no idea what they are doing when it comes to politics!

Dick writes:
This question clearly shows at least one Cafferty File producer has not yet recovered from ringing in the New Year.

soundoff (131 Responses)
  1. Ray

    what? Like people don't vote like children now?

    January 4, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  2. Isaac from NH

    Frankly the thought horrifies me. Educated people in general have less children than uneducated ones. So what this would in effect do is give more power the kinds of people who can't even find their home state on a map of the US, nevermind have a decent handle on current events. Does sit sound like a good idea to ANYBODY?

    January 4, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  3. Jesusdude from D.C.

    If they have the mindset of Einstein, knock yourself out!

    January 4, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  4. KDS Irvine, CA

    I don't think that is a very good idea Jack. Parents of children will coarse their kids to vote who their parents vote for. And these kids don't understand politics at that stage in life. I understand the argument but its just not logical.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
  5. Thom Richer

    I still believe there should be a minimum age for voting in the U.S. but I think 16 is an appropriate age for a citizen to vote. After all, they are citizens and are directly affected by our legislation and will have to face many years in their futures living under the U.S. government and those in office. Many under the voting age that i know are more informed than our so-called, adults over the age of 18. Great idea long overdue.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    January 4, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
  6. Roland Navarro

    No way! This is foolish. Young adults can barely understand the issues.

    The politicians would love it. Great chance to indoctrinate the young though.....

    January 4, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
  7. Robert Giacumo

    No. I am not in favor it this. The criteria for allowing someone the vote should be based on the ability to critically assess the candidates running for office. It's a cold-hard fact of life that most kids below the age of 18 are not yet developmentally equipped to do this. Further, kids voting while still living at home and being supported by the parents would be under great pressure from parents to vote their way. No, this is not a good idea.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
  8. steve in fl

    Why not, Jack? They're every bit as uninformed as their parents seem to be. I'm sure they'll love the tea party rallies. Kids love dressing up for Halloween.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
  9. AC

    Woodbine, MD

    The right to vote is premised on an individual's right to choose. Since children do not typically have the mental capacity or understanding to choose governmental leaders, it goes against the fundamental tenant of voting rights.

    Further... those parents with more children will have more votes. This would affect not only the age of those who vote, but possibly demographics such as race and social economic status. It does not make sense to give a person who has kids to a greater voting right than those who do not, cannot, or choose not to have children.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
  10. Renee Peoria,Ill

    Are you kidding? Most adults can't see past the political rhetoric and posturing, how can we expect children to? It won't be their vote, it'll be their parents vote. This would just give extra votes to anyone with children. I never had children because I could never afford to properly care for a child. Now you're suggesting that I should be penalized for having the common sense and wisdom not to reproduce in an already overpopulated world with dwindling resources.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
  11. bill

    Of course, every living citizen should have a voice in the US government. A child vs. corporation, there is no argument which is a person

    January 4, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
  12. Jeff In Minnesota

    Why not? And while we're at it, let's let our pets vote as well. Of all of the stupid ideas I've heard. How is a kid going to be educated enough to vote intelligently? They won't. They will just parrot their parents' voting. So why not give parents of children under 18 the same number of votes as they have children? Another idiotic idea. It would be impossible to police and control.

    The government is supposed to represent its citizens. If a given majority of the citizens are of a certain age, then they get better representation. It is an unfortunate outcome of the baby boom and is only going to get worse as we all age. Ultimately, there will be a second baby boom that will equal things back out.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
  13. Jeff of Peoria

    This is such a ridiculous question and the reason is that we can't possibly have a lick a brains at a young age. I'm a perfect example because I remember being a supporter of Jimmy Carter.

    Jeff of Peoria IL

    January 4, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
  14. Brandon

    It would be great to see the Cookie Monster and Big Bird on the campiagn trail. Keeping politicains honest on tough issues like overhauling recess and the looming problem of afternoon naps. Most adults don't vote anyways so why not. Kids would probably suprise us and actually do whats right.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
  15. Michael

    Absolutely our kids should have a right to vote. We now treat children as adults if they commit crimes, why not treat them as adults to determine who leads this political machines of this country.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
  16. Chris

    Children don't yet have the capacity t think critically. Most of the time the kids will do what their parents do, anyway.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
  17. Dhillon

    Cafferty, if you are only favoring to lower the voting age because of debt and to involve younger generation at early stages then you also need to think about following issue in America.
    New generation (in America or outside of America) is not hard working, they do not believe in working hard. They want to work less and same time lead comfortable life and make more money. New generation is raised in such a way that they have inside feeling that "I deserve more, I deserve better" attitude. They are very well aware or rights but not duties. Baby Boomers built this Country. Don't get me wrong, I am 30 years of age myself. Hardworking spirit needs to be passed on. I think this will also solve the debt issue in future. I can provide good examples but I just want to request you to think about this issue as well.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
  18. Robert W. North Carolina

    No. Adjusting who can vote because you might not like the outcome of a vote sounds like some dictatorship in a third world country. All you have to do is take a pole and exclude those who will not vote your way before the vote occurs "Hot dog I win". Besides, it sounds like "old" people are just a bunch of freeloaders trying to suck the country dry. The real question is "WHAT happened to all the taxes of various types they paid all their lives?" Not saving it for the purpose it was intended should be illegal. I love kids but lets wait until their brains work like adult brains concerning governing. They'll do wonderful.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
  19. ed

    After the results of the 2008 election, we should raise the voting age to 50. It is apparent that younger voters do not have the experience and maturity to cast a well thought out vote. Also, anyone who has voted for a democrat in the last 30 years should automatically lose the right to vote as they have shown their immaturity as well.


    January 4, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
  20. Tim Senior

    Letting children vote would be a great idea if you want Justin Bieber to be president, otherwise, lets just leave things the way they are.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
  21. tamars

    how about we get schools up to snuff and kids able to read and graduate high school before you propose they vote.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  22. DK

    So, then, childless couple's votes would be worth less than someone who has four, or six children. And people who are prolific in reproducing somehow gets to have more say than the rest of us? What you're suggesting is the equivilant of redistricting zones in order to redistribute votes in ways that suit your end goals.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  23. Rich McKinney, Texas

    Jack you might be on to something. I have looked back over the last 50 or so years and really taken a hard look at some of these Mickey Mouse politicians that adults have voted into office in this country and it is not real impressive. Certainly not where they have driven this country to today anyway. Perhaps it is time we let children pick our politicians. At least that way when they put the next clown into office we can understand how he or she got elected. They certainly can do no worse.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  24. chris, tx

    we do let children vote they are called Liberals!!!

    January 4, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  25. Matt Mathai

    I already don't trust most adults to educate themselves enough to vote responsibly. I can't imagine that situation'd be improved by letting kids vote.

    Annapolis, MD

    January 4, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
  26. darrel in Ephrata Washington State

    What makes you think that a parent will vote for their childs future. Particulary those receiving government subsidies and benefits. The poor with much larger families will use those votes to maintain their status. Can anyone say "bread and Circuses Ceasar"?
    Better would be to keep social security monies where they are supposed to be and stop using the funds to underwrite programs the government create but doesn't fund.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
  27. Jessica

    Extra vote for having kids? No fricking way Jack. I had to pay for all the benefits that are going to people that are older than me (and I wont see for another 22 years) and I want and am entitled to the same benefits that they were entitled to. I am tired of getting screwed over by the whiners that want everything but don't want to pay for it. How about we stop the two wars and save up that money? Huh Jack?

    January 4, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
  28. Andy from N.C.

    Kids today have no idea how politics work. Of course it isn't that much different from the voting public as it is right now, but I don't think it should be done. How would it be carried out? Would the kids themselves vote? Judging by the students at my old high school that's a terrible idea. Would the adults essentially get an extra vote for each of their kids? Well, that might be okay at first glance, but then families with more kids would gain an unfair advantage! It's just a bad idea all around. If you ask me, a better idea would be to pass a MAXIMUM voting age. If someone's older than, say, eighty years old, then their vote only counts for half, or something like that.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
  29. R.L.

    We'll we have irresponsible and corrupt children in poltical office so it would only make sense.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
  30. Mark

    Are you serious? That would be like giving some adults more than one vote. Have you never sat in an elementary school classroom and listened to children parrot what they hear at home?

    January 4, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
  31. Gene, Crawford

    How else did the tea party get in the capital, Jack?

    January 4, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
  32. Cheryl

    Really? So the "breeders" get extra votes?

    January 4, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
  33. Joe Marquez

    You see 16 year old being prosecuted as adults. If they are held to adult standards in the court system, why not give them adult rights?

    January 4, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
  34. r barbour

    A lot of adult children are already voting. That is they simply vote how they are told by their "Nanny" (ie party or special interest group). Heck, there are a lot of adult children running Washington. Instead of voting for the politicians, why not just let the children run Washington. They certainly couldn't do worse than what has been done in the past several decades.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
  35. Thinkforyourself, OK

    The voting age is too low as it is, children are so ill educated these days that they have no means for making a sound decision. This was demonstrated in the massive youth vote for Obama.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
  36. Brooks Irving

    If the government is going to allow a 9 year old to cast a vote in an election, they sure as hell better allow a 19 to enjoy a beer.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
  37. Katharine

    I'm from Honolulu.

    I think children as young as 12 have the intellect to understand issues that affect them and have the capacity to vote (I've been following politics since I was 4, although I have a high IQ). Studies should be done to see if that's true on average though, and what the ideal age would be. If so, it would help motivate young people to participate in government. I don't think it means that it gives parents extra votes at all. As a child I held (and still hold) different political values than my parents, and nothing they said or did got me to change my views. Most teenagers would be able to hold their own if they're opinions differed from their parents.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  38. Rockford

    Why not!!! Don't they pay taxes if they work? Taxation without representation?

    January 4, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  39. Micah from Canton OH

    "Hey Johnny, would you like the little red elephant or the big blue donkey?" If we thought the candidates were behaving childishly now, just think of what would happen...

    January 4, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  40. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    I can see validity in that arguement. But I don't think it works. It will give unions and groups with higher birthrates more power than they deserve. I would go a diferent direction. I would say if you either, live off government assistance, work for the government or work but pay no federal income taxes, you lose your right to vote. I think, like a household, the people paying the bills should be the only voices that count. Then you will see some real change. This way the freeloaders and parasites of society lose the power to continue a broken system and burn through someone else's money.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  41. alex

    Children should have a right to vote because they are as much as a citizen as an adult. this is pretty much the same as when women werent aloud to vote.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  42. Gidgit

    No. Children should have to be 18 to vote, because an 18 year old is more likely than a 16 or 14 year old to be interested and knowledgeable about current events, as well as more likely to have taken a basic government class in school. And no, parents should not get extra votes for their children, as that will be easily abused. No one would ever use their vote for what they want, and then use their child's vote for the opposite. For starters, most people don't feel that their vote is against the best interests of their children, and even if they did believe that, they wouldn't cancel out their vote with another.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  43. George, Riverside, CA

    No. We have too many childish adults voting already.
    For example, the TEA Party people, and their equivalents on the opposite extreme.
    The point is that real decisions require depth of thought, and while there is no way to test for that, there is at least a requirement that a voter have some experience in life. That is a key element that children lack.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  44. Terry Luce

    That is not something I, as a 63 year old, would worry about. Contrary to Arne Duncans thoughts, the kids couldn't figure out how to use the voting machines. My kid had to call to ask how to spell "United States" on a job application.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  45. Amarissa

    It was children who voted this President in so we don't need to lower voting age again! As a matter of fact I would raise voting age to at least 21 or higher. Young kids vote on appearances and promises, they do not research the ones they are voting in and now we see the results of their actions.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  46. Adam From Toronto Canada

    Yes they should. It's the only way the interests of children such as putting healthy foods in schools, child poverty, The dying education system will be taken seriously by Washington. The only reason there are programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid is because Seniors and can vote... and they do vote in droves. If every child in America had a vote, public Schools across the country would be paved of gold.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  47. Bill

    I think this is a horrible idea. We already have immature thinking in abundance in congress. Why add more at the ballot box. No insult to the kiddies, but let them grow up first

    January 4, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  48. Gary

    Okay...it's official..we have lost our American minds!!! First, people are screaming "lower taxes" "lower taxes" while we are in at least 2 wars and our infrastructure is falling apart and then people complain when the government doesn't "come to the rescue" when it snows, and now when it's time to care for older Americans we want to allow children to vote?? Shameful!!! Lets quit giving checks to the wealthy elderly first or is that too sensible in the USA now?

    January 4, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  49. Mike Nirider

    After the election of 2008, we should consider raising the voting age!

    January 4, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  50. Aaron Seattle

    No. 18 is fine. I don't want some tween who is more concerned in short term gains of Miley Cirus (however you spell her name) than in the long term viability of our collective future.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  51. Jafsie

    Dear Jack,
    The scenario outlined in your question - "giving parents an extra vote for every child" - clearly gives an advantage to the contraceptively-challenged in American society.
    If you're asking me whether I think people like Kate Gosselin and Sarah Palin should get an advantage over people like me - whose families responsibly restrict themselves to a more sustainable choice in family planning, like one or two children - my answer is resoundingly NO!!!!!

    January 4, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  52. Gerard Pierre-Louis

    Well I think It wouldn't be a great idea..I think children are at the age where they should not worry about politics

    January 4, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  53. Colonel Lee Van Kirk

    If they pay taxes and serve on juries then yes...if they serve in the armed forces then yes otherwise should we allow children to run the country...NO!
    We are adults..we should act like adults!

    January 4, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  54. Richard

    Jack you gotta be out of your mind, if children are allowed to vote, how about the dead parents of the baby boomers. It's just fear that the conservatives are loosing.


    January 4, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  55. Megan

    The majority of voters don't know who or what they are voting for IF they even go to the polls. Children can randomly circle names just as well as the adults.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  56. Matt, Little Rock

    It looks good on paper, but it won't work in reality. Let the people with kids get extra votes? Seeing as the average intellect of most voters seems to be below the capability of critical thinking, no, this shouldn't be allowed to happen. Unless the parents can pass an IQ test with a score of 100+, AND be up to date on the current political landscape in the US and around the world, AND be able to identify eight of ten randomly selected nations on a map. Then, maybe, but that's equivalent to a poll tax, so there's no chance of it happening.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  57. Pat in RI

    A ridiculous idea, for more reasons than you'd want me to explain.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  58. Dallas

    Why not instead of letting children vote (which with what you propose it's really just parents getting an extra vote, and let's be honest, that could be a "hanging-chad" nightmare), cutting off the voting age at age 80? Of course, maybe I'm extreme, but I think that once seniors turn 80, they should be submitted to a driving competency test to allow them to continue driving on the roads...it could work the same way for voting.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  59. Guy

    Absolutely NOT. A child is legally too young to make decisions regarding alcohol consumption, driving or consensual sex. So they must not be able to make complex political decisions. So "giving them a vote" is really not the intention.

    Since the real goal is to give young adults more voting power, this whole idea is discriminatory on many levels. Why does the nut-job with 12 kids get 12 extra votes, but the rational adult with no kids get none (not that people with lots of kids are nut-jobs, just pointing out the stupidity of basing political power on how many kids one has)? Why does the young adult deserve more voice than the adult who has seen more, and has likely given more to his country? The whole idea is moronic.

    And I say all this as a young 42 year old with a toddler of his own.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  60. Jenny

    Why not allow children to vote? We already allow those who cannot read or write, those who have been dead for years, and illegals to vote, not to mention how many people vote twice or more. I think it would be a keen idea to have a clear voice of reason for a change. The problem would be this: children parrot their parents; therefore, the vote would probably be no different from what it is ordinarily. And ordinarily, it stinks!

    January 4, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  61. Jo

    No .. if we want voting to be more representative of the population, we should make voting mandatory as they do in Australia! Fine those who don't vote and either we'll have a more appropriate median voting ago or we will close the deficit!

    January 4, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  62. Corina

    I think that if kids were able to vote without their parents around then it could be a great idea. If they were informed enough without a specific political leaning being pressured on them. The young people of this country are smarter than they are given credit for. If they were made to understand the importance of voting at an early age then more would turn out year after year. They, after all, will be the ones paying one way or another later on. They should have a say.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  63. steve - virginia beach

    No. That's a rediculous idea for many reasons. Allowing children to vote would imply that they're old enough and sufficiently mature to make informed decisions, opening a Pandora's Box undermining the premise underlying age of consent laws. Secondly, if parents don't let their kids run their homes, why should we let them run our country? Third, your idea would serve to encourage having more kids while we don't have enough jobs to go around as it is.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  64. Ethan Reynolds

    Okay Jack come on I am 19 and I love politics but I can tell you that people I know really well who are my age vote the way the parents want so if a kid will have no real political views just what their parents spoon feed them. I am not like either my mother or father I am a super Conservative. I chose this on my own there are not many people like me who has been in politics for the last eight years of my life.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  65. abigail

    yes kids should vote

    January 4, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  66. Robert

    This is kind of silly. Voting is an act supposedly reserved for those who have the mental capacity to understand and make wise choices. Sadly, we have more than enough problems with adults who do not possess the intellectual capacity to exercise their democratic responsibility wisely. This would only be accentuated in those who are younger.

    Further, what's to say that children would be able to resist the influences of their parents?

    Not a well-thought out idea at all...

    January 4, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  67. Ethan

    im 13 and think that's a awful idea.Kids have little idea whats really good for them.And most of them would vote on a candidates for style or charisma.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  68. independant mother

    I should think that would depend on what your definition of child is. My 9 year old comes with me to the polls every year and takes part in the 'Kids Vote' event. Many times she doesn't know who to vote for and will sit there and ask me who I think she should put, or who I voted for. So should 9 year olds be able to vote? No. I don't think so. It may be their future but grade school kids just can't comprehend what is at stake.

    However older, more mature "children" such as teenagers of high school age probably wouldn't' be a bad idea. They have their own thoughts and opinions on the matters and won't necessarily vote the way their parents do. We give 16 year olds cars and jobs and drivers liscenses, a chance to vote for them wouldn't be that big of a stretch.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  69. Strom

    I don't think the "vote" of a child would be legitimate. Parents wield a considerable amount of influence over their childrens' political views, so these "votes" wouldn't really represent the opinions of children. It'd just be another vote for adults. I just don't think it would be a truly democratic vote.

    Strom in Charleston, South Carolina

    January 4, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  70. Kenny

    The breeders are the ones that are keeping the society going.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  71. Nancy, Tennessee

    Absolutely not. We have enough fraud at the polls. With the number of divorces there will be kids counted by each parent. Talk about record number of votes for an election. We would be wondering if China's population voted instead of Americans.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  72. shan

    Most adults are confused about issues and politicians; do you expect children to be better informed? This is ridiculous; what’s next Big Bird for President Ernie and Bert for congress?

    January 4, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  73. Lisa

    I am 48 and am at a "bad age" neither Boomber or Gen X, just screwed. I say YES let the kids vote. How much of a threat is it? In our culture young people don't vote now. But the Japanese value intelligence so I say let's follow the ideas of some smart people.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  74. Shawn

    Noting the mental capacity, critical thinking skills, and overall maturity level of some American voters..how could it possibly hurt?

    Further, and not without a bit of sympathy, the mental capacity of some elderly is below that of your average teenager.

    Basically, here's what it should be. If you can be employed and PAY TAXES, then you have earned a vote. I can see that line of thinking consistent with the founding ideals.

    So what does that make the age of voting...for me it would have been 14.

    I can support that.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  75. Mark

    Ok, I can see it now. A certain Kansas church will go forth and concur the vote. Not a good idea.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  76. Bryant

    Jack you must be crazy, in this country we can't get adults to think and behave as adults much less kids.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  77. Ridiculous Idea

    SpongeBob 2012

    January 4, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  78. James

    No. I'm 19 and have only been able to vote twice now and found the process while simple in some ways hard and complex in others. Letting people vote at an earlier age would do use no good especially not considering the maturity rate of most of our children now days. Like my dad told me Kids back the had to grow up faster due to the fact they faced going to war and dieing due to the draft I don't see that happening here and now so letting kids vote earlier would only hurt not help.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  79. Alvin

    We should try anything at this point. Perhaps they will have a better overall view of where this nation could be. The current generation(s) is/are making a mockery of every thing this country was founded on and destroyed the great intent of our founders. God can't even save us now. Maybe the children can.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  80. Don Osborne

    Childern will pay the price for our decisions, they should be allowed to participate in the process. Nobody wants their future decided by someone else.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  81. Gidgit

    I have noticed though that the younger generation does seem to be more knowledgeable and interested in politics than in the past. I'm happy about that and I think that it can only be a good thing for our nation. However, they still shouldn't get to vote. Not until they are 18.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  82. Lorrie

    No. Our elected officials would be high on "dank weed" and would play "Call of Duty" instead of going to work.

    Springfield MO

    January 4, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  83. Shelley

    Ok so we are going to let children vote and give the parent of those children extra votes. There are a lot of parents that can't even raise their children because they are being tride as adults for crimes. What do you really think this is going to accomplished? More people that are registered to vote that don't take it seriously. I say no. I think there has to be a better solution to the problems that are happen then throwing our hands up and saying let the children vote. That is a cop out. It is time for everyone to grow up take responsablity for their mess and fix it.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  84. whut

    I think the voting age should be even higher than it is, unless you are serving in the military. Why, you ask? Most 18 to 23 year old kids I know can tell you who is on jersey shore but can't tell you who their senators or representatives are. And the recent college grads I have met seem to think jobs should be simply given to them, they don't want to compete for employment. The entitlement society.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  85. Stephen from Florida

    When politicians are already children, I don't see the harm of letting them vote.

    I think this would be a good idea. I think the voting age should be lowered to 16. You know the Republican Party would oppose it and if it were to clear and become the law, they'd just try to repeal it anyway they could to keep the power in the hands of the seniors. Personally I feel that the liberal Republicans should split and form a Progressive-Conservative Party. It'd give someone for Democrats to work with.

    I read through here and I'm reading about how kids today have no idea how the political system works. Do you know every teen and adolescent in the US? Some of us are extremely knowledgeable about politics and some of us know even more than adults about political issues and thats on both sides.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  86. Roberta Pearson

    You've got to be kidding! What's next, kids count as a 3/5 person? I'm 53 and I have voted since I was 18. Older people come out to vote in large numbers because they understand it is important to vote and be a part of our democratic process, despite the flaws in our system. We old farts also have a wealth of experience to rely on. I have talked to so many people who don't see the point in voting but choose to gripe about it anyway. One vote – one adult person as defined by the constitution. If you want to be heard, vote - and get out and encourage others to do the same. Otherwise shut up.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  87. Dom

    In order to seriously consider the idea of "child voters", 2 things would have to happen:
    1. We will need to stop educating our children in this "bubble" that only teaches facts and ignores the current social issues affecting our country. (There's a reason why candidates campaign at colleges and universities are the settings for debate. Most students in higher education are being educated on today's issues for the first time in their lives, and I assure you they will have an opinion)
    2. We will need to open up the idea of what other common rights belong to the American voters and would they need to be extended to children as well? In my opinion, voters chose candidates who will benefit THEM. How much exactly does Congress offer to children at this point in time?

    January 4, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  88. I C U P

    Well Obama was successfull in capturing the "younger generation" of voters and we all see how well that has turned out. The argument posed is good in theory– older people dominate the polls and vote to make sure they are protected –allowing someone who just learned how to drive a car vote on national matters is about as stupid as lowering the drinking age or not legalizing marijuana. You should only be able to vote in this country if you pay taxes. PERIOD

    January 4, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  89. Kile

    Obama got elected because of the 18-25 age group. If that is any indication I say HELL NO!

    January 4, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  90. Judy Wimberly

    Absolutely not, children should not be allowed to vote. Children are children and they're too young to understand politics.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  91. Ralph Spyer

    Who do we vote for? Diet pepsi or diet coke. Big money controls this country, they want a war we go to war.they want ten million illegal we can not stop them. They wnat less taxes they get lower taxes, why vote?

    January 4, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  92. John Schaumburg IL

    Jack, why not, politicians act like children most of the time and we adults vote them in, maybe children would do a better job at picking a politian that acts like an adult.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  93. Jo

    Instead, make the politicians first take a test on the constitution and American history, so they would understand what their jobs will be.

    Illiminate all advertising for elections and only have debates, one a week for the last 6 months before the elections, so people really see who they are voting for.

    Put not only an age limit on how old you have to be in order to run, but also, on the other end, no one over the age of 70 can hold office.

    Last but not least, anyone in office can not have any other income other than what their office pays them, and that pay should not be anymore than the average income from their district.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  94. clark1b

    why are we discriminating against children? they should not be disenfranchised ... we should allow them to vote. No Head of Household should be so arrogant as to believe they have the right to vote for their family members ... spouses, children, servants, etc.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  95. Roger, Colorado

    Children voting? You've got to be kidding! I'm not sure what your socio-economic status is, but when I grew up lower-middle class I was made promises; If I worked in the military for twenty-plus years I would get a retirement and medical coverage. If I paid into social security for a prescribed number of quarters I would receive Social Security when I turned 62 or older. If I taught public education for twenty-plus years I would receive a retirement.
    Since many of us 'seniors' have fulfilled those obligations, at what point did we become a burden to our country by receiving the associated 'entitlements'? We seniors don't account for some unreasonable portion of your, "14 billion dollar deficit"...this country and it's governing bodies, unregulated policies and wasteful spending do.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  96. Cody

    Of course they shouldn't. Children simply lack the life experience to establish their own well founded opinions, so it is giving parents an extra vote. One man (or woman), one vote. This would be a scheme to undermine the basic democratic principle of majority rule. You can't just change our electoral system because you disagree with the demographics of the country. That would be significantly worse than the already corrupt practice of gerrymandering.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  97. Scott Brown

    I had never considered the question of allowing children to vote until I read your piece. At first blush it seems crazy. After a couple of minutes of consideration, I can't see a reason not to allow children to vote. But to me the sticking point becomes the voting criteria. I'm old enough to recall the lowering of the voting age to 18. It seemed not only reasonable, but almost required at the time. If the government could draft 18 year olds into the military to risk their lives for our country, then they have the right to be full participants. Even for those individuals who weren't drafted, 18 was deemed an age by which people were generally mature enough to vote. But what criteria would apply to altering that standard? Would it still be age? If so what age do we choose? And why? Children develop skills at different widely varying ages. Personally I wouldn’t want a 9 month old voting. But I’ve know some pretty precocious 6 year olds I’d be OK with voting, as well as some 14 year olds I wouldn’t want near a ballot box. Do we make literacy the criteria? Is it sufficient to be able to read the ballot? To comprehend it? And if either of those become the standard do we disqualify some 55 year olds? I think allowing younger people to vote is a good idea that needs more in depth study. At this point in our history one can make a good case that children are stakeholders. Who’s going to follow up?

    January 4, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  98. Jesse

    No thanks. Personally, I would prefer to have the vote be IQ based. Perhaps schools would improve if students knew that they were reward for good grades and a higher IQ with an extra vote. We shouldn't give someone an extra vote for simply being unable to keep their legs shut.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  99. Deborah Seibert,. Co

    Children under 18 and most 18 year olds do not have the life experience to accurately form an opinion. Younger people tend to be reactionary, If it feels good, do it. They would also be at the mercy of their parents, not being able to choose for themselves. I was in my 30"s before I was able to break away from my parents politics and form my own opinion. No they should not vote.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  100. Claes

    It's popular to think that today young people are so much more educated that they can vote when they are 15 or something. But isn't voting more about being somewhat responsible. Are 15-year-olds more responsible than 20-year-olds 100 years ago? Right! Probably! A 20-year-old 100 years back probably had a couple of kids and knew acutely that responsibility was the difference between life and death. Even 40-year-olds don't know that today! Many never know it! My suggestion is to increase the voting age to 40 years. I sure wouldn't have wanted my own views when I was 15 represented anywhere: I'd kick my behind if I met myself back then.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  101. Marjorie

    Children age wise or maturity level? If it's the latter they are already voting!

    January 4, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  102. Shawn

    See, posters like Ed who think that all the fault lies with Democrats in the last 30 years.

    As if Republicans haven't wasted opportunity or made horrible decisions as well...

    Both parties have the same problem...they are in parties and loyal to THAT before they are loyal to their constituents.

    You want my vote on something, let me run a poll and/or do some quick on-the-street opinion gathering in my district...then I'll come back and let you know my vote. Put more of the decision making in the people's hands and less in the hands of people that vote a certain way becaue some other party members, NOWHERE near the representatives area, vote a certain way

    January 4, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  103. Paul

    I think the single people of this country are disenfranchised enough without giving extra votes to people with children.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  104. Bob Macklin

    Jack If you want people to take you seriously don't ask questions like this. For crying out loud most adults don't know why they vote Dem or Repub.; They have no idea what the actual ideologies are behind their proclaimed party they just do it because grandpa did or dad was this or that. Not hardly an intelligent informed decision goes into it on average. Children would be oblivious to what they were doing and why. Why would we ever burden their young minds with such drivel anyway. Let them stay kids and innocent of the partisan politics we Adults play and I use the term adults very loosely.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  105. Amit Bhatnagar

    Well, a better idea is to let every voter take an IQ quiz just before voting, and multiply their vote by their IQ number. All problems solved!

    I wonder how Bush vs. Gore would have turned out in case the tie was dependent on the IQs of Bush and Gore. 🙂

    January 4, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  106. JLC

    A better idea would be to move election day to a Saturday. I'm sure the fact that older folk tend to be retired (and therefor not working on a tuesday) contributes in no small part to their higher voting numbers.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  107. Clint

    This is fantastic and thoughtful idea, which I hope will be given some real consideration and debate. I would hope that if something like this were to take place in this country, more emphasis would be put on social studies and civics in public schools. Also, to reinforce the notion to children that informed voting is not only a right in this country, but also a responsibility. There is a huge problem in this country of people not exercising this very important right, and many that do vote are uninformed or misinformed by a deeply divisive political message. Getting younger people involved in the political process early could be a hugely beneficial start to turning around these problems if done in a thoughtful manner.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  108. Michael D

    I wrote a paper on this 30 years ago in college. Our children are at the beginning of their productive lives and thus it is in our national interest to ensure a greater investment in their futures.

    Who is eligible to vote has changed dramatically since the Constitution was adopted as per the 14, 15, 19 and 23rd amendments and the Voting Rights Act.

    If the baby boomer want to have workers who can afford to pay for their retirement they should welcome better educated and productive future workers.

    Power to the parents. All children should be represented.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  109. Ted

    Why, Jack. We already keep voting for Bozos enough on our own.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  110. Tom

    Most emphatically No. Voters need to make informed decisions and be able to hold their own independent opinions. The teens are a critical period of one's life where one begins to discover one's own identity and formulate one's own opinions and critique one's beliefs. At this age, one is new to this process, and can easily be manipulated to adopt the latest political fads because one lacks perspective and life experience. I personally deal with many youth in this age group, and they are still unclear as to which opinions are their parents', their peers', and their own.

    Further, if we do not trust the responsibility for people under age 18 to smoke, or to get one's ears pierced without parental permission, or those under 21 to drink, it's naive to even suggest that someone under 18 should be given suffrage.

    Finally, to consider that the voting age should be lowered on account that the younger generation will be more impacted is farcical. Most teenagers do not even have financial responsibility, nor are they legally independent. You might as well just increase voting power based on the number of children one has; parents are far more likely to make a better informed decision than their teenage kids.

    Kirkwood, MO

    January 4, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  111. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    I would go a diferent direction. I would say if you either, a) live off government assistance, b) work for the government or c) work but pay no federal income taxes, you lose your right to vote. I think, like a household, the people paying the bills should be the only voices that count.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  112. Edward Nashville, TN

    No, but that would it would be funny as hell to see what bribes the politicians could make to get the kids to vote. Free chocolate cake at school lunch, a tax break to the parents for them to buy bikes and toys for their kids.....

    January 4, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  113. andrew in pinehurst

    Only those who have the right to drink should have the right to vote.....or vise versa.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  114. Gigi Oregon

    That is the dumbest idea I have ever heard. And it makes me think America is continuing to show its ignorance. The older people have more wisdom than any age group. We should raise the voting age to thirty. After your collage tuitions have been paid. Now/then you may have gained some wisdom on economics.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
  115. Shervin N

    Depends on what you mean by children! The real answer is that any citizen who is deemed competent to vote should have the right to vote. Competent means that you are able to understand what you are voting for AND have a reasonable capacity to understand the consequences of your vote. By this criteria, I am afraid most Americans are incompetent to vote! As a practical matter though, it would be reasonable to lower the arbitrary age for voting to, say, 16. After all, don't you think that if you are competent to drive, you are certainly competent to vote?
    Shervin, Orange County, CA

    January 4, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  116. Paulie

    Ridiculous! Children become adults at 18 years of age then they can vote! According to the democrats a 26 year old is still a child on your insurance policy. I guess they already DO have the right to vote huh?

    January 4, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
  117. Greg Minns

    When and if a child pays taxes local, state and federal taxes in support of a familes bottom line I do support their right to vote.
    My own children did not do so unitl they moved out of my home.
    If you do not work , paying local, state and federal taxes, you should not be allowed to vote under any circumstances..

    January 4, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
  118. Tony from Southport

    Should children vote? They already are! They're called Democrats!

    January 4, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
  119. Citizen in the Waste

    A rather interesting question, would they actually be the ones voting? I dont think a 4 year old has the capacity to understand what its doing. Now if the age is lowered to 15 that might be a little better.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
  120. Mike

    Most adults don't even know the issues.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
  121. Brian

    I say let them vote as long as we're going to say they can be prosecuted as adults then we're really saying they have the discression and intellect to make sound decisions. therefore let them vote, drink, smoke cigaretts etc. You can't be an adult part-time and held responsible part time it has to be an either or. So if we are going to try our youth as adults ;whenit suits us they should have a say in how and who makes those decisions.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
  122. Aurora101

    You have got to be kidding!!!! Kids can't reason and they don't have the capability to make an independent decision. These kids today are so brainwashed in school as to who the governor, senator or next president should be. You should talk to these kids around election time and the propaganda that is fed to them through the classroom. Take a look at the papers and such that they bring home from school. Many of their parents don't have a clue and they (the parents) are of the mentality that "I'm not going to vote, because my vote won't make a difference." That is the problem with this country....everybody wants, everybody complains and too many of the adults, who have the mental and social capability to sift through the propaganda, don't bother to invoke their privilege to vote. What a sorry mess this will become down the road..

    January 4, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
  123. Tawnie

    If a young person can sign-up to serve his/her country at seventeen, then he/she should be allowed to vote.

    Additionally, I like the idea of letting tax-paying children vote. At 16 to 17 years of age I was working 30-50 hours a week on our family farm–while also being active in track, cheerleading, FFA, and National Honor Society–and became the valedictorian of my senior class and earned a full-ride scholarship to our state university. Once there, I earned a degree–prior to marrying my husband and having children– just as I had planned all along. I'm pretty sure that my vote at 16/17 would have been a little more thought-out and a little better for our country than say some 40 year old who'd lived of welfare their entire life...just sayin.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
  124. Mary

    I teach "adult" students age 20 and up. These students are so self centered and immature the fact that THEY can vote gives me nightmares as does them running the country. At 18 we, boomers, were getting married, having families and holding down jobs. We had a sense of responsibilities and a work ethic that is missing in this generation. We have evidence that the brains of 18 are still not completely developed and they therefore made poor choices. Do you really want to leave the future of the country in hands of 16 year olds?

    January 4, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
  125. Mitch

    Is this a joke? I mean who put the entitlement programs in place? the same people that are still in congress 45 years later right? put in term limits and you won't have to worry about all the corruption that develops over 4-5 decades of out of touch politicians. I

    January 4, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
  126. Joe

    Whether you give the vote to the child or parent is irrelevant...the political view of the parent is a huge indicator as to what the child will vote / grow up to vote...Of course, this would give people even more incentive to have children which they are unable to financially support, which is the last thing this country needs. This would just shift the balance from one entitled voting bloc (the older voters) to another (the poor who are more likely to have children) .

    January 4, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
  127. Teenager from Richmond VA

    Jack – Half your erudite adults can't even write a 50-word post without making myriad misspellings. Nice.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
  128. Bart in Portland

    Children voting? You mean immature, uninformed voters? We've already had that – it was called the Tea Party in this past election.

    Seriously – this is a solution looking for a problem. If the nation is aging, then the national vote will reflect its concerns. That's just democracy in action. If they want their Social Security and Medicare untouched, then we as a country will have to sacrifice elsewhere, like roads, education or the military, or maybe raise taxes (which are at historic lows right now). We've spent too much and we're in debt as a nation – don't blame that situation or place its resolution on our retirees. (And I'm not one, or a Baby Boomer BTW)

    January 4, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
  129. cobra

    They would probably be smarter than the average ones in congress, most of them probably know you can't keep spending money you don't have.

    January 4, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
  130. Brian

    We need fewer voters, not more! Instead of lowering the voting age, how about requiring people to get a minimum 85% on a selection of questions from the citizenship test? Maybe that would improve the quality (and therefore the decisions) of the voters...

    January 4, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
  131. DR

    Take a 'get serious' pill stat!  Let kids vote?!?  It's questionable as to whether most adults have the qualitatively informed judgement to make wise election choices, much less extend the franchise to an inexperienced demographic group whose prefrontal lobe development is still shy of low risk decision making.

    Here's a thought if you want to avoid the self-interest voting-entitlement paradox from creating the boomer- bias dynamic that you cite as your reason for contemplating kiddie voting: try restraining government by the original limits of the constitution ... by which I mean to say, confine spending to the fundamentals, like defense, like we used to.


    Sent from my iPhone

    January 4, 2011 at 6:53 pm |