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An argument in favor of abolishing the concept of disenfranchisement in the united states

By Terry Barnes Posted February 17, 2016 13: It's heresy to say so in our youth-obsessed culture, but under-18s are not known for judgment and wisdom. ABC News If Labor politicians really wanted to improve the electoral system they should be advocating voluntary voting, not pushing to give children with little or no real life experience the right to go to the ballot box, writes Terry Barnes.

  • This was enough to satisfy the Supreme Court that only private parties, not the state, were involved in determining primary electors despite the fact that the state required and regulated primaries;
  • This was enough to satisfy the Supreme Court that only private parties, not the state, were involved in determining primary electors despite the fact that the state required and regulated primaries;
  • To placate them, Southern states adopted an "understanding clause" or a "grandfather clause," which entitled voters who could not pass the literacy test to vote, provided they could demonstrate their understanding of the meaning of a passage in the constitution to the satisfaction of the registrar, or were or were descended from someone eligible to vote in 1867, the year before blacks attained the franchise.

This week Labor senator and one-time Killing Season re-enactorSam Dastyari, revisited whether the voting age for federal elections should be lowered from 18 to 16. Writing for The GuardianDastyari renewed Opposition leader Bill Shorten's call late last year to enfranchise 16 and 17-year-olds.

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He cited the impending responsibilities that youths will have as adults. It is today's young people who will be forced to deal with the serious consequences of a warming climate, and find ways of keeping our economy growing while the ageing population dramatically changes the nature of our workforce. But, having recently claimed that just 10 companies control Australian politicsDastyari belled his own cat.

Young people deserve to have a proper voice in the debate to protect penalty rates and stop the Liberal government slashing university funding. If the law were to change, the 600,000 young Australians who would become voters would turn out in droves, taking a stand against the self-serving, short-term, big business-pandering kind of politics we've seen under this Liberal government. For Dastyari, giving teenagers the vote would favour progressive parties like Labor and the Greens, and kick the Coalition into the dustbin of history by cementing a permanent Left majority.

  1. Although the 24th Amendment prohibited the poll tax in Federal elections, even that wasn't enough to prevent a last-ditch attempt to burden the right to vote with a tax. So Texas passed another law providing for each party's state executive committee to determine who could vote in its primaries.
  2. A ballot for the governor's race put in the box for the senate seat would be thrown out.
  3. Some may suggest young people joining the Defence Force should have the vote regardless of age. The Supreme Court affirmed this decision in Giles v.
  4. It took the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to prohibit the poll tax in state elections.
  5. Surely what Dastyari should be advocating is not lowering the eligibility age, but reinforcing that having the vote itself is a privilege as well as right. This week Labor senator and one-time Killing Season re-enactor , Sam Dastyari, revisited whether the voting age for federal elections should be lowered from 18 to 16.

Electoral advantage aside, however, who could disagree with extending the franchise in a parliamentary democracy? A number of countries, including Austria and Brazil, have lowered their voting ages to 16. In 2014, Scotland gave 16 and 17-year-olds the right to vote in its closely-fought independence referendum.

  1. Restrictive and Arbitrary Registraton Practices Southern states made registration difficult, by requiring frequent re-registration, long terms of residence in a district, registration at inconvenient times e.
  2. Oklahoma responded to Guinn by passing a law requiring all those who had not voted in the 1914 election when the grandfather clause was still in effect to register to vote within 11 days, or forever forfeit the franchise.
  3. They care far more about being personally popular and accepted by their peers, finding girlfriends and boyfriends, getting good exam results and getting into the uni, TAFE, or apprenticeship of their choice.
  4. This week Labor senator and one-time Killing Season re-enactor , Sam Dastyari, revisited whether the voting age for federal elections should be lowered from 18 to 16.

That's their choice, but most of the world has stuck with 18 as the minimum voting age. It's heresy to say so in our youth-obsessed culture, but under-18s are not known for judgment and wisdom, nor for their depth of life experience. On the whole, they take little or no notice of politics.

They care far more about being personally popular and accepted by their peers, finding girlfriends and boyfriends, getting good exam results and getting into the uni, TAFE, or apprenticeship of their choice.

They are experimenting with their sexuality, losing their virginity and trying legal and illegal substances. Many, through certainly not all, are not thinking too much about the narrow world in which they are the centre. And most teenagers remain in the care, and homes, of parents and legal guardians. They might work after school at Maccas for pocket money, but mostly they remain dependents - "infants" in legalese - with no legal voices of their own. If full-time at school, university or TAFE, they are most likely being paid for by their families to the extent their education isn't already taxpayer-subsidised.

Voting is a serious responsibility, not a bauble or toy.

Giving 16-year-olds the vote would be an insult to democracy

Bluntly, if you wear a school uniform you're too young to vote. Some may suggest young people joining the Defence Force should have the vote regardless of age. In Australia, however, the minimum joining age is 17: Surely what Dastyari should be advocating is not lowering the eligibility age, but reinforcing that having the vote itself is a privilege as well as right. It needs earning, and cherishing. It should not be taken for granted and abused in the hands of the ignorant and apathetic.

If anything, the privilege is already wasted on too many irresponsible adults, let alone children. Compulsory voting is a travesty of the democratic ideal of electing our parliamentary representatives through deliberative and informed choice.

  • In 1873, a band of whites murdered over 100 blacks who were assembled to defend Republican officeholders against attack in Colfax, Louisiana;
  • They might work after school at Maccas for pocket money, but mostly they remain dependents - "infants" in legalese - with no legal voices of their own;
  • Starting in 1877, when Georgia passed the cumulative poll tax, states implemented statutory methods of disenfranchisement;
  • In 1937, a white man brought suit against Georgia's poll tax, alleging violations of the 14th Amendment and the 19th Amendment prohibiting discrimination in the right to vote on account of sex.

The hundreds of thousands of adults who rock up at polling booths merely to have their names crossed off the electoral roll and avoid being fined - often voting informally in the process - are devaluing democracy just as much as voting teenagers would. Instead of wasting time and energy on advocating a lower voting age and thereby increasing the quantity of voters, Dastyari should focus on enhancing the quality of the voting pool.

He should be backing voluntary voting to ensure that those who actually turn out at elections are motivated citizens far more likely to be making informed choices in the polling booth. That would be a greater declaration of personal freedom: He should be encouraging better voter education, ensuring minimum standards of civic knowledge not only in school curricula but also as a condition of initial electoral enrolment.

After all, we ask potential new citizens to take a test before their make their allegiance to Australia, why shouldn't the rest of us prove ourselves worthy of the privilege? But the senator won't do that. For just as Dastyari assumes lowering the voting age would benefit Labor politically, he'd insult his own party's constituents in assuming that voluntary voting, in particular, would disadvantage the ALP because its supporters would be less likely to turn out. Instead, Labor would rather Australia continue as one of the relatively few democracies with compulsory voting rather than trusting citizens to make free choices of their own free will.

Shorten floated teenage voting as a distraction from Malcolm Turnbull's sudden ascendancy to the prime ministership. Dastyari's advocacy further trivialises the precious privilege of every adult Australian earning the right to have a say in who governs them.

If teenagers aren't legally adults until they turn 18, then they should not expect the vote - the purest badge of adulthood in our democracy - until they reach that age. Our 16 and 17-year-olds are still children. They will assume adulthood's heavy burdens soon enough. In the meantime, let kids be kids until that time comes.

Terry Barnes is a policy consultant, former senior Howard government adviser and a weekly columnist for The Drum. Follow him on Twitter: