Friday, June 24, 2011

An argument for lowering the voting age

Why should holding office be for old people only? - War Room -
The U.S. Constitution sets strict age requirements for election into federal office -- 25 for the House, 30 for the Senate, and 35 for the presidency. Most Americans probably take these age minimums for granted and don’t think twice about them. But they actually represent an antiquated, imprudent and even pernicious form of state-sanctioned discrimination -- one that undermines our democratic republic more than you may realize.
Here's my summary of John Seery's argument:
1. Many other countries allow young people to run for office and they bring a unique perspective to election debates.
2. Other fields (sports, business) have great young professionals, therefore there may be some great young politicians that are not allowed to participate due to age requirements.
3. There exists a generational gap between Americans and their elected officials.
4. Young people are disenfranchised because they can vote for, but not serve as, elected officials.
Those are convincing arguments and surely debate worthy.  I would love to have some real facts, though.  Canadians may have elected six University students to Parliament, but have they done any good work?  Do young elected officials produce better legislation?  Are there any studies to find out whether lowering the age of candidacy would spur more young people to seek office?
And are there any studies to the contrary?  Since "good judgement" is correlated with prefrontal cortex development, couldn't we say that elected officials over age 25 are better for our country?

No comments: