Youth Engagement in Youth Suffrage

Freechild Project youth at a summer camp in Seattle

We must eliminate the voting age entirely. For almost 20 years, Freechild has forwarded this idea.

Let’s begin with this starting point: All adults are ALL biased towards adults, including our opinions, attitudes, knowledge, perspectives, ideas, ideals, outcomes and activities. And note that I’m saying biased towards, meaning that we favor them. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, its just a thing. As heinous as it is because it discriminates against children and youth, there are times when adultism is good and appropriate.

I don’t want to share a beer with a 7 year old, and I don’t care when they advocate for it. Same with driving, drinking, shooting guns, banking, etc.

However, there are times and places where adultism has to be confronted because its inappropriate, ineffectual, or otherwise doesn’t work.

I believe that voting for elections is a largely arbitrary activity that supposes adults are the only people eligible to choose elected officials, simply because of their age.

Freechild Institute Youth Involvement Tip #6: Name what's stopping youth from being involved already.
Freechild Institute Youth Involvement Tip #6: Name what’s stopping youth from being involved already.

There is an international movement, including in the US, to lower or eliminate the voting age because it is arbitrarily adultist.

Rather than declare an age limit that arbitrarily supposes capability, capacity or otherwise qualifies people to vote, I think we should eliminate the voting age entirely.

The international movement is comprised of people who are all over the map on that. Some think it needs to reflect developmental capabilities or educational levels, while others think that there are only certain activities youth are qualified to vote for, i.e. the things that affect them most, like district school boards, city council membership, etc.

I think that’s rubbish too. In the United States and Canada, we never limit or qualify adults to vote, and any limits or qualifications assigned to young people are inherently ineffectual and arbitrary adultism that are disguised by intellectualism.

I would LOVE to hear what you think!

Thanks to my friends Sierra, Victoria, Tatiana, and Riley for prompting me to write this!

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One response to “Youth Engagement in Youth Suffrage”

  1. I agree! What’s the risk of trying it?

    I run the national campaign to lower the voting age in Canada to 16. But I’d be happy to see it lowered even further… or eliminated altogether!

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