Via Jonathan Bernstein, Sally Kohn writes about a campaign in Lowell, Massachusetts to let seventeen year-olds vote in local elections. More power to them, but I say let any American citizen vote in any American election he or she wants to.
Objections to this usually take the form of imagining a highly disciplined party of seven year-olds reliably delivering bloc votes to whichever candidate credibly promises endless kindergarten. If you think for five minutes about the practical problems of political organizing, and then for five minutes more about the practical problems of getting kids to do anything I think you’ll see quickly that this is a misguided worry. Realistically, voter turnout in the United States is not particularly high to begin with. Older teens and twentysomethings are already disproportionately unlikely to vote. If we extended the vote to more children, my guess is that relatively few of them would exercise it. But those who did would come from an unusually dedicated and informed sub-set of American teenagers. Meanwhile, if seven year-olds somehow do manage to organize themselves into an effective political lobby, I say more power to them. R