Children and votes

Victorian MP, Evan Thornley, has an intriguing proposition to give households with children more votes; basically, have a child and until they are 18 you get an extra vote. I have said before that the case for not letting children vote is weak.

Thornley is assuming alot in his ‘delegated’ proposal. The first is that two parents might agree on how their children should vote. The second is that giving votes to others is something we should feel uncomfortable about. My belief is that children over the age of, at least, 16 but probably 13 are capable of the cognition required for voting. We should no more take away their votes than we would for someone at the other end of their lives that has become dependent. So I think we should go the whole way and consider increasing the franchise directly.

Andrew Norton wonders if families are really underestimated in voting. By sheer logic, under-representation must be true if children do not have explicit representation. But Norton concludes with a similar view to my own.

5 thoughts on “Children and votes”

  1. They’re more interested in voting people out of Big Brother or Australian Idol as I understand it.

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  2. Thornley’s argument was based, at least in part, on factoring in future generations into current voting. But, if that’s the goal, then he clearly didn’t go far enough. Surely embryos should be given the vote too. And what about people trying to get pregnant, though we’d need to factor out the folks that probably won’t succeed, i.e. a fertility count: one sperm/egg one vote! And we should also give a vote to likely future immigrants, e.g. countries developing skills we have a shortage of or who are likely to have a major humanitarian disaster. (Kevin Andrews could cast their vote.)

    To be charitable, his argument is a neat way of showing up the problematic nature of slogans like one vote, one value. In the UN, the General Assembly’s ‘one nation, one vote’ rule has, amongst other things, been partially responsible for the failure of proposals to unite the West Indies as one nation. (And a similar rule’s behind the craziness that happens every time there’s a vote on whaling.)

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  3. I like the rules how they are, with age 18 as the criterion for a number of rights and responisiblities. Kids would largely vote like their parents, but there would be political advertising pitched at kids as well – that’s something I wouldn’t like to see.

    Many have complained that Adelaide City Council, which houses thousands of workplaces, has its representatives elected by the small number of eligible residents. The other ratepayers argue they should ahve a vote too. But then shouldn’t the employee also? Or should city ratepayers, to vote in the City council, have to exchange their right to vote in the suburban council where they live? Some have said the state govt should take over the city council.

    Any change to rules about who gets to vote will be viewed with suspicion, because it will be made by party/s who want to get re-elected.

    Australian Idol differed from some of the other Pop Idols around the world in that voting was free, so those with more disposable income became power-voters.

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  4. I think that lowering the voting age is so stupid. Kids wanna be kids even when they are 15 or 16. And whats the point in making them vote because most of them will complain about it and make irrisponsibe choices anyway.

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