The Oregon kids' vote

After exiting the tax-happy Gilded State, a fair number of its loopy citizens who could no longer afford skyrocketing housing prices or tolerate crowded freeways migrated to nearby Oregon, a state that competes with California for the honor of championing the most "progressive" ideas in the nation — e.g., assisted suicidelegalized weedrent control, and banning those thin plastic bags that presumably constitute an existential threat to the planet.

Recently, Oregon's legislature began touting a proposal similar to one the late California state senator John Vasconcellos floated in 2004.  Back then, Vasconcellos proposed giving partial votes to teenagers.  Fourteen- and fifteen-year-olds would receive quarter-votes while their sixteen- and seventeen-year-old siblings would wield twice as much electoral clout.  Oregon's legislators, by contrast, are considering a bill that would give a full 100% vote to sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds while leaving younger kids disenfranchised, at least for the moment.

Any honest political observer knows why Democrats wish to drop the voting age to include individuals who can't join the military, own firearms, or enter into legal contracts.  The reason is that emotional, easily manipulated teenagers are overwhelmingly likely to vote for Democrats — as is undoubtedly the case with those "undocumented immigrants" whom San Francisco now includes in local elections.  Rising in opposition to the Oregon bill, the Senate Republican leader observed, "This is nothing more than an attempt to expand the voter rolls to sway elections."  Omitted from his statement were the words "toward Democrats."  

If Oregon passes this legislation, it may be only a matter of time until its sponsors propose (bit by bit) constitutional amendments that enfranchise, perhaps fractionally, all its citizens — bills that allow grade-schoolers and toddlers the opportunity to participate in the democratic process in state and federal elections.  The conservative view that language acquisition (to say nothing of ID) should be a voting prerequisite will doubtless be portrayed as a corrupt attempt to suppress the vote by "ageist" opponents of full representation.

So how bad can it get?  If the adult citizens of New York can elect the likes of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, think about a future when the kids who recently lectured California's Senator Dianne Feinstein about Ocasio-Cortez's "Green New Deal" enter the voting booth.

Richard Kirk is a freelance writer living in Southern California whose book Moral Illiteracy: "Who's to Say?" is also available on Kindle.

After exiting the tax-happy Gilded State, a fair number of its loopy citizens who could no longer afford skyrocketing housing prices or tolerate crowded freeways migrated to nearby Oregon, a state that competes with California for the honor of championing the most "progressive" ideas in the nation — e.g., assisted suicidelegalized weedrent control, and banning those thin plastic bags that presumably constitute an existential threat to the planet.

Recently, Oregon's legislature began touting a proposal similar to one the late California state senator John Vasconcellos floated in 2004.  Back then, Vasconcellos proposed giving partial votes to teenagers.  Fourteen- and fifteen-year-olds would receive quarter-votes while their sixteen- and seventeen-year-old siblings would wield twice as much electoral clout.  Oregon's legislators, by contrast, are considering a bill that would give a full 100% vote to sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds while leaving younger kids disenfranchised, at least for the moment.

Any honest political observer knows why Democrats wish to drop the voting age to include individuals who can't join the military, own firearms, or enter into legal contracts.  The reason is that emotional, easily manipulated teenagers are overwhelmingly likely to vote for Democrats — as is undoubtedly the case with those "undocumented immigrants" whom San Francisco now includes in local elections.  Rising in opposition to the Oregon bill, the Senate Republican leader observed, "This is nothing more than an attempt to expand the voter rolls to sway elections."  Omitted from his statement were the words "toward Democrats."  

If Oregon passes this legislation, it may be only a matter of time until its sponsors propose (bit by bit) constitutional amendments that enfranchise, perhaps fractionally, all its citizens — bills that allow grade-schoolers and toddlers the opportunity to participate in the democratic process in state and federal elections.  The conservative view that language acquisition (to say nothing of ID) should be a voting prerequisite will doubtless be portrayed as a corrupt attempt to suppress the vote by "ageist" opponents of full representation.

So how bad can it get?  If the adult citizens of New York can elect the likes of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, think about a future when the kids who recently lectured California's Senator Dianne Feinstein about Ocasio-Cortez's "Green New Deal" enter the voting booth.

Richard Kirk is a freelance writer living in Southern California whose book Moral Illiteracy: "Who's to Say?" is also available on Kindle.