Constitution Discussion, Part 37: Amendment XXVI

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Martin Blank
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Constitution Discussion, Part 37: Amendment XXVI

Post by Martin Blank » Tue Sep 27, 2005 2:35 am

Previous discussion part: US Constitution Discussion, Part 36: Amendment XXV

Articles and Sections are offset by bold text; and underlined text has been modified, superseded, or repealed by Amendments, and generally are no longer in effect.

Amendment XXVI.

Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States, who are 18 years of age or older, to vote, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of age.

Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


Ratification completed July 1, 1971

Passed perhaps in part as a response to the Vietnam War, it allowed those most often joining the military -- those just out of high school -- the right to select who was sending them into harm's way. Of course, many more benefited from this, as college students and others still looking for their worldly position began to express their viewpoints.

There has been some argument, though, that allowing voting at this young age does not allow people to experience the "real world" enough to form a reasonable opinion. While I've heard such thoughts mostly from the right, some occasionally offer it from the left as well (though neither side has a loud voice on the topic).

Recently, there have been discussions about extending the voting age, at least in state elections, to cover those 16 and above, sometimes counting as only fractional votes. The idea is that these people have a vested interest in the world into which they will soon be stepping, and so should have a voice in it. Widespread use on the scale of the states would probably result in pushes for a federal voting right, and the wording of the amendment does not prohibit such a thing.

Should the voting age be changed again? If so, higher or lower? Why?
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Post by Deacon » Tue Sep 27, 2005 3:14 pm

If changed, only higher. I'm sorry, but few high school sophomores I know have any hope of making an educated decision, much less 8th graders like that guy in California wanted. If teenagers really have a vested interest in the world into which they will soon be stepping (let's not kid ourselves, here), they would hopefully be wise enough to allow people who've actually had to pay a bill before and actually hold a job and provide for a family make the calls. To do otherwise is as stupid as having the pot-head high school drop-out in the mail room have the same say in how the company is run as any of the people there with MBAs.

If I were a hardcore liberal, though, I'd probably be all over it, as I'd see it as a way to expand my voting base, since I think it's no real secret that kids, taught by people employed by a socialist organization (public schools), are going to lean whichever way MTV tells them to, which means whatever sounds good, whatever's warm and fuzzy, and in no way requires any connection with the real world.
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Post by Donomni » Tue Sep 27, 2005 4:00 pm

I can tell you right now, if MTV said that mass orgies were good for America, teens would vote to make it easier to have said mass orgies. :glare:

I would either keep the voting age the same, or raise it a couple years. It's like Deacon said, kids don't know enough about the world yet to vote on it. I just wish that some of the older voters weren't of the same intelligence level as a lot of kids in high school. :x

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Post by CheddarCheese » Tue Sep 27, 2005 5:02 pm

I think the voting age should be raised back to 21. After that, I think military should be volunteer at 18 and if there was ever another draft, I think the minimum age for that draft should be the voting age.

To go further on the voting issue, I wouldn't mind seeing something about paying taxes in there. If you're not paying in, why have a say in how the money gets spent?
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Post by Dr. Tower » Tue Sep 27, 2005 5:55 pm

[quote="CheddarCheese";p="547526"]I think the voting age should be raised back to 21. After that, I think military should be volunteer at 18 and if there was ever another draft, I think the minimum age for that draft should be the voting age.

To go further on the voting issue, I wouldn't mind seeing something about paying taxes in there. If you're not paying in, why have a say in how the money gets spent?[/quote]

That's been discussed here. I personally think that it should stay at 18. Most of the time, if the person is not politically motivated, they just won't vote. If they are poltically motivated, then they have some opinion on the issues at hand. In case you missed it, the college aged demographic in this past election was still woefully underrepresented anyway.
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Post by StruckingFuggle » Tue Sep 27, 2005 5:58 pm

To go further on the voting issue, I wouldn't mind seeing something about paying taxes in there. If you're not paying in, why have a say in how the money gets spent?
Maybe ... If voting was only about how taxes were spent, but ... you know what? It's not.
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Post by Deacon » Tue Sep 27, 2005 6:58 pm

Yeah, it's also about...what?
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Post by StruckingFuggle » Tue Sep 27, 2005 7:01 pm

Well, there's whole sections of the law that have nothing to do with taxes. Two quick examples would be what is and is not illegal, and foreign policy.
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Post by CheddarCheese » Tue Sep 27, 2005 7:03 pm

Quote: That's been discussed here.

Sorry..new and just grabbed the most recent thread...

As far as age goes, I just think there are double standards occuring [drinking age], and I would rather see the minimum age of adulthood increase rather than decrease to hopefully get some sort of standard for who is accountable for their own actions and who is still a child. Legal system and courts included.

(Sorry if this crosses into another thread as well...I'm lazy and want to say it here because I think it all connects)
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That everyone lives and wishes to live primarily for himself does not disturb social life but promotes it, for the higher fulfillment of the individuals life is possible only in and through society. --Ludwig von Mises

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Post by Deacon » Tue Sep 27, 2005 7:05 pm

There's a difference between being legally an adult and being responsible for your own actions. At least, there should be. Just because it's 2 days before you turn 18 doesn't mean you're not just as cognizant and aware of and responsible for your actions as you will be day after tomorrow.
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Post by CheddarCheese » Tue Sep 27, 2005 7:36 pm

That is the double standard and complication of the issue at hand I was trying to get at. I guess a good answer would be for every person to go before a jury and get a voter's accrediation or something. I suppose at that point it doesn't matter how old you are, you just have to pass the board to vote/drink/smoke/etc.
It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. --Adam Smith

That everyone lives and wishes to live primarily for himself does not disturb social life but promotes it, for the higher fulfillment of the individuals life is possible only in and through society. --Ludwig von Mises

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Post by Bigity » Tue Sep 27, 2005 8:15 pm

Yea...not in my country pal.
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Post by Koreth » Wed Sep 28, 2005 12:58 am

I would try to make a rebuttal to that idea, but I keep ending up with some sort of "slippery slope" fallacy. I still don't think it is a good idea however.
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Post by Arres » Wed Sep 28, 2005 1:28 am

I approve of both raising the voting age and draft age, while leaving volunteer service where it's at. While we're at it could we also raise the minimum age at which you can married? Make that 21 also if you please.
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Post by Arc Orion » Wed Sep 28, 2005 4:16 am

First, the laws governing the minimum age requirements for marriage are state issues. Second, what will raising the age fix?
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