In a short judgment issued today te Kōti Mana Nui o Aotearoa (the New Zealand Supreme Court) granted Make It 16 leave to appeal their human rights case to the Supreme Court.
The Court of Appeal has previously decided that preventing 16 and 17 year-olds from voting is age discrimination and that the Governent had not been able to justify that discrimination, but refused to issue a formal declaration of inconsistency with the Bill of Rights. Make It 16 is seeking that declaration from the Supreme Court.
“A formal declaration from the Supreme Court would be a powerful message to Parliament that they should fix this breach of our rights. It would force Parliament and the Government to see this as a priority and boost the movement for change” Make It 16 co-director Cate Tipler (they/them).
“It is very exciting. This means rangatahi will get their day in the Supreme Court. Preventing me and other 16 and 17 year-olds from voting is unjustified age discrimination. It is a breach of the Bill of Rights” says Tipler.
One of the arguments against lowering the voting age to 16 is that teenagers are simply too stupid for democracy, but after the insanity of the Anti-Vaxx Qanon feral lunatics we’ve seen exploding everywhere, I don’t think that argument stacks up any longer.
Adults in NZ believe a microchip is in the vaccine and is spread using 5G technology to bring about a shadowy one world government that uses satanic child sex rings.
Don’t tell me 16 year olds are somehow dumber than that!
Let’s go through the main 3 arguments in the lowering voting age debate.
Taxation without representation:
Taxation without representation is a classic and it has weight. Lots of 16 and 17 year olds have jobs and are paying tax but without any political representation. That is an incredibly powerful argument for Democrats and those arguing against lowering the voting age don’t have much intellectual or philosophical counter weight to this prescient point.
Teenage brains aren’t ready to vote:
One counter is that teenagers frontal lobes haven’t developed enough yet and as such 16 & 17 year olds don’t have the maturity to vote.
While it is certainly true that teens don’t develop frontal lobes until their mid 20s, we are talking about sudden panic moments in young peoples lives like fighting or boy racing or racing off in police pursuits, that criticism can’t be extended to teenagers ability to reason or understand the world around them!
What is the suggestion here? Teenagers will panic at the voting booth and murder everyone in an epic melt down over not being able to take a selfie while voting?
Left only want to lower the voting age for self serving reasons:
The third argument is that this is self serving for the Left. I think that is garbage. Allowing people over 80 to vote leads to very biased results!
Young people are dealing with climate change, allowing them a political voice and by bringing them into politics earlier builds the franchise of democracy no matter who it benefits politically (and I would argue it benefits older people right now)!
Broadening the franchise of Democracy is the goal and allowing our teenagers to have a say would force politicians to listen.
If politicians aren’t going to listen, they won’t get their vote!
What more democratic is that?
I say yes to lowering the voting age to 16 and welcome a new generation of citizens into the great debate that is democracy!
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