We should hasten the enfranchisement of this generation, born between 1980 and 1995, by lowering the voting age to 16. . . 16-year-olds who want to start voting should be able to obtain an “early voting permit” from their high schools upon passing a simple civics course similar to the citizenship test. Besides increasing voter registration, this system would reinforce the notion of voting as a privilege and duty as well as a right — without imposing any across-the-board literacy tests for those over 18.
I have often contemplated what might happen if we were to require a test similar to the citizenship test to become a registered voter. Of course that will remind us of some of the Jim Crow voting laws that had to be repealed in the south. Even if nobody intended to discriminate any test would have some bias in it which makes it difficult to imagine passing such a law. I had also considered a system of preferential voting where some criteria – passing a test, or caucusing rather than simply voting – would add weight to the votes cast by those who met the criteria.
I’m wary of the idea of lowering the voting age, but I’m still interested in finding ways to increase personal investment in casting votes – to “reinforce the notion of voting as a privilege and duty as well as a right.”
There were some very enlightening responses on the topic that are also worth reading. My thoughts are definitely a work in progress – any insight or opinion is appreciated.