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Ten Questions, One Easy Answer: Q&A On Children's Suffrage

Ten Questions, One Easy Answer: Q&A On Children's Suffrage

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Published by Anthony Fotenos
The Association for Children’s Suffrage (ACS) is a new group with a new idea: interested citizens of any age should be able to vote in the United States, not just those over 18. Need convincing? Below are some answers to common questions regarding children’s suffrage.
The Association for Children’s Suffrage (ACS) is a new group with a new idea: interested citizens of any age should be able to vote in the United States, not just those over 18. Need convincing? Below are some answers to common questions regarding children’s suffrage.

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Published by: Anthony Fotenos on Aug 15, 2008
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05/09/2014

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Ten Questions, One Easy Answer
Q&AON CHILDREN\u2019S SUFFRAGE

The Association for Children\u2019s Suffrage (ACS) is a new group with a new idea: interested citizens of any age should be able to vote in the United States, not just those over 18. Need convincing? Below are some answers to common questions regarding children\u2019s suffrage.

_
What does suffrage mean?
Suf\u22c5frage. (s\u00faf\u00b4r\u00edj) \u2014n. The right or privilege of voting as a member of a body, state, etc.
(Oxford English Dictionary).
_
In terms of the voting age, how low do you want to go?

All the way! We believe it\u2019s unfair to systematically reject citizens for trying to advance
their own opinions. We therefore call for a simple universal criteria for voting: citizenship
and sufficient interest to register and then vote on election day.

_
You want two-year-olds to vote?

We want two-year olds to be able to vote. Political interest grows with time, at different
rates for different people. The majority of those who would vote if they could would most
likely be in high school. After all, how many political two-year-olds have you met?

_
Won\u2019t child voters merely copy their parents?

Not all but, yes, most children would vote like their parents, as adults do. A well-regarded
study of English voters in the 1980s reported that 90% of the Conservative party consisted of
members whose parents both voted Conservative. Liberals were no different. Politically-
mixed marriages sired politically mixed voters, half Liberal, half Conservative. Thus parents
clearly influence children, but why at the expense of their individuality? Children\u2019s ideas
belong no less to themselves when shared by others, including parents. Indeed, it makes
sense that the family\u2019s interests are often common. A politician planning to build a road
through a household of six deserves six less votes, not two. What\u2019s important is that children

could, aware of their right to secret ballot, vote independently of parents; yet it should neither
surprise nor disappoint anyone if many don\u2019t.
_
What about parents who force their children to vote prematurely?

A few parents, unusually unscrupulous, will always abuse their power. Of them, those who
are unusually political might well commit voting fraud by forcing children to vote against
their will. Similar fears of husbands manipulating their wives in the case of women\u2019s
suffrage proved overinflated; that the majority of parents don\u2019t even vote suggests the same
in the case of children\u2019s suffrage. Even so, lawbreakers should never hostage legislation,
including a voting-age repeal. Abusive parents call for reform, not surrender.

(OVER)

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