It never stops.
The Democrats never quit.
They’re always scheming.
Just when you think they are running out of ways to meddle in elections, they come up with another harebrained plan.
What’s the latest?
Now they want to lower the voting age to 16 – or lower.
And it’s gaining steam.
The campaign’s latest win came in Boston, where the City Council on Wednesday approved a petition allowing 16- and 17-year-old residents to vote in municipal elections. The petition will now be sent to the Massachusetts Legislature for approval. Progressive members of the City Council argued that lowering the voting age would help young people build a habit of voting and make them more likely to continue being politically engaged later in life.
“We don’t apply a maturity index to the right to vote for any other age,” City Councilor Kenzie Bok, who sponsored the petition, told the Boston Globe. “Having the opportunity to vote is what gives our 16- and 17-year-olds a chance to engage meaningfully.”
I know it sounds crazy. And it is.
“This is a foolish, cynical move by Boston and other jurisdictions,” said Hans von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation. “Under the law, 16- and 17-year-olds are minors. They can’t sign contracts or leases, buy alcohol, join the military, serve on a jury, or engage in a host of other activities that only legal adults are qualified to engage in because we as a society have judged that they have not yet developed the experience and judgment to make such decisions. They aren’t even treated as adults when they commit crimes, except under exceptional circumstances, for the very same reason.”
If the voting-age measure passes in Boston, then the city will join two others in California – Oakland and Berkley – and five others in Maryland – Takoma Park, Hyattsville, Greenbelt, Riverdale Park, and Mount Rainer – that permit 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in municipal elections. (Alameda County, where Oakland and Berkeley are located, has yet to implement the measure in either city.)
Another area of Maryland pushing to lower the voting age is Howard County, where the Board of Education is comprised of eight members, including one reserved for a student elected by their peers in grades six through 11. Sixth graders are typically 11 or 12 years old.
“They want to infantilize voting by allowing children to vote,” J. Christian Adams, president of the Public Interest Legal Foundation. “They think that’s their next big constituency. Allowing kids as young as sixth grade to vote for school board – it’s like ‘Lord of the Flies.’ Children are getting more political power than adults, and they don’t even allow children in Catholic schools to vote.”
Where else is this happening? A Virginia Democrat submitted a bill last week to be introduced in the 2023 General Assembly for a constitutional amendment to lower the voting age for local elections to 16.
“If we can get 16- and 17-year-olds the ability to vote in at least local elections, it will empower them to think about their civil responsibility,” said Delegate Sam Rasoul, who echoed many of the points made by Boston City Council members about young people not having a say despite being affected by important decisions and the desire to get young people to partake in the political process.
In Culver City, California, meanwhile, a ballot initiative to allow residents as young as 16 to vote in city and school board elections appears to have fallen slightly short in last month’s midterm elections, although the vote count hasn’t been finalized. Regardless, proponents of the so-called “Vote 16” movement are encouraged.
“The movement continues to grow in interest and strength,” Andrew Wilkes of the group Generation Citizen told the Los Angeles Times. “This lays the groundwork for the baton to be passed to rising high school students.”
At the federal level, Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., introduced legislation last year to amend the Constitution to make 16 the national minimum voting age.
“Our young people, including 16- and 17-year-olds, continue to fight and advocate for so many issues that they are passionate about from gun safety to the climate crisis,” Meng said at the time. “Their activism, determination, and efforts to demand change are inspirational and have truly impacted our nation. It’s time to give them a voice in our democracy by permitting them to be heard at the ballot box. 16- and 17-year-olds are legally permitted to work and drive. They also pay federal income taxes. I believe that it is right and fair to also allow them to vote.”
Critics contend such arguments disguise the chief motive of those in power pushing this effort: gaining more votes.
“Why would officials suddenly consider that minors have the ability and judgment to make important political decisions when they don’t trust them to make any of these other decisions [such as signing a contract or serving on a jury]?” asked von Spakovksy. “Nothing other than politics and the belief it will somehow help them get elected. This is a crass motive and a betrayal of all of their other constituents and particularly voters whose votes will be diluted by children.”
A near-record 27% of voters aged 18 to 29 cast ballots in this year’s midterm elections, the second-highest turnout in three decades, according to an analysis of exit poll data by Tufts University’s Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement. Across the country, these young voters overwhelmingly supported Democrats over Republicans.
Beyond potentially gaining more votes by lowering the voting age, some observers see the Vote 16 push as part of Democrats’ broader effort since the 2020 election cycle to change a host of voting rules, such as instituting universal mail-in voting.
Just last year, 125 House Democrats voted in favor of an amendment to the For the People Act, which included several Democrat-backed election rule changes, to add a provision to the legislation lowering the voting age for federal elections to 16.
It’s coming. They’re serious. They just never give up.
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