Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler

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Legal Beagle: The climate strike and the voting age

25 Responses

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Just posting a comment so I can turn on email notifications to any comments :-)

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    "Won't somebody think of the children?"
    "Yes. The children."
    "No, not them ..."

    Politics/Media Guidebook, page one: Children should be invoked, not heard.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1321 posts Report Reply

  • Walter Nicholls,

    I do not know what policy changes they seek

    Call me a cynic but the majority of them don't and won't know. However this does not devalue their purpose or sincerity, they could reasonably expect that the Government has resources to get the advice of experts.

    As to voting at 14, I'll be cynical again and wonder if anyone has done research into the correlation of 14-17 year-olds' voting preferences with that of their parents. It's not the best argument for enfranchising this age group , but at worst the voting preference of parents with teenagers will get a small boost.

    But being influenced into voting 'imperfectly' is hardly limited to any age or gender. (To avoid a modern form of Godwin's Law, I will not mention a certain referendum held in the UK in mid 2016)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Jul 2008 • 38 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Walter Nicholls,

    As to voting at 14, I’ll be cynical again and wonder if anyone has done research into the correlation of 14-17 year-olds’ voting preferences with that of their parents. It’s not the best argument for enfranchising this age group , but at worst the voting preference of parents with teenagers will get a small boost.

    I'm not supporting giving votes to 14-17 year-olds because I think they'll vote a particular way. I support this because I think they should be allowed to have a say in the future.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson,

    I think the real benefit of this will be that youth will be introduced to voting while still at school, so will be much more likely to get on the electoral roll, and hopefully then more likely to vote.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Moz,

    when the law says you have sufficient cognitive abilities to...

    That's good enough for me! Full support.

    Now, if only I was sufficiently opposed to the striking kids to come over and vote for the party(s) that favour this change.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1193 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    when the law says you have sufficient cognitive abilities

    Is the law informed by science? It should be. Frontal cortex isnt fully developed till 25 and von economo? neurons who knew about them? I think we all need to go back to school. Anyway my favorite Robert Sapolsky is always a joy to listen and learn from

    Take in small doses can cause overload

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1881 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Day,

    Nice, I'd love to see the voting age abolished altogether. If someone has the desire and the ability to go into a voting booth, tick a box and express their opinion, all power to them. I've known 7-year-olds with coherent, consistent political opinions that deserve to be added to the tally. On the other side of the coin, I've meet 30-year-olds who we probably shouldn't include if we truly believe some people's views should not count because those views are not well developed.
    Even if it is true that on average children do not vote as sensibly as adults, that is not a reason to disenfranchise all of them.
    The only fair test would be based on ability to vote, rather than any proxy of that - be it age, criminal past or other. And such a test of voting ability would be highly illiberal. It would expose the anti-democratic nature of the exclusions.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2006 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Walter Nicholls,

    I'm not supporting giving votes to 14-17 year-olds because I think they'll vote a particular way.

    Nor do I. I'm just observing that our best efforts have gone into helping our children become independent thinkers, and this has resulted them in choosing support for exactly the same party I vote for. In fact the older one has joined said party. Naturally I think this proves they are sane, but I would, wouldn't I?

    I support this because I think they should be allowed to have a say in the future.

    Yup.

    On the other side of this thread: our daughter's school has this morning sent out an official response to the "strike". To paraphrase, they will grant students with a provable track record of "significant, on-going environmental involvement" permission to attend the rally. All other students will be considered bunking off with the corresponding blemish on their attendance record.

    This is considerably more supportive than what I expected, which was more along the lines of "we understand why you want to do it and good on you but don't" ... which as a responsible parent is my official line. My daughter also understands the unofficial line that she is an independent thinker and can make her own decision for her own reasons - and will receive supportive hugs either way!

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Jul 2008 • 38 posts Report Reply

  • Walter Nicholls, in reply to Stephen Day,

    I've meet 30-year-olds who we probably shouldn't include

    I've often wished that people had to answer a test of general political awareness before they are permitted to vote. Unfortunately I imagine that such a test is far more subvertable than the current process of attracting votes by campaigning.

    I'd probably enjoy reading such a quiz if someone wants to make one. Just for fun, you understand.
    Q1. This test contains difficult words. Can you read?
    ...

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Jul 2008 • 38 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    when the law says you have sufficient cognitive abilities

    To clarify: that’s choosing an age criterion typically associated with a developmental stage allowing sufficient cognitive abilities.
    It is NOT proposed that cognitive ability be a criterion applied to individuals: that would lead towards state-mandated cognitive testing to decide when dementia should remove voting rights, which is probably not the intended outcome.
    (Though some young British voters would support it right now!)

    Agreeing with Stephen Day: age is an unreliable proxy for voting ability — but a direct test of voting ability would be extremely problematic.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1886 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Stephen Day,

    I’ve meet 30-year-olds who we probably shouldn’t include if we truly believe some people’s views should not count because those views are not well developed.

    Neuroplasticity in older people more often that not goes downhill, probably because they dont know what that is. But accounting for bias and prejudice is just a lot harder practically all of it is learned.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1881 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    N.B. it may be worth revisiting an earlier thread outlining a rather different proposal to get younger voters more involved.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1886 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Walter Nicholls,

    I've often wished that people had to answer a test of general political awareness before they are permitted to vote.

    Australia has that to a larger degree than NZ, by having a less trivial voting system. Further up the list is the USA with their complex and biased voting requirements and ugly, locally-designed voting papers and FoK vote counting systems making it a challenge to ensure your actual vote is likely to be actually counted. Even beyond that are places like Nigeria and Sudan. "political awareness" in the latter meaning "can work out how to vote without getting killed".

    In Australia we have the stats you'd expect. The "duh wot?" vote is typically between 2% and 10% and the "donkey vote" ("put 1 in the first box, or number 1,2,3,4...") is another 5% or so. A related form of stupidity gave us David Leyonhjelm from all the morons who put a 1 in the first box that said Liberal.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1193 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Stephen Day,

    I'd love to see the voting age abolished altogether. If someone has the desire and the ability to go into a voting booth, tick a box and express their opinion, all power to them.

    I agree, but I'm willing to support any step in that general direction.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1193 posts Report Reply

  • mpledger, in reply to Walter Nicholls,

    As to voting at 14, I'll be cynical again and wonder if anyone has done research into the correlation of 14-17 year-olds' voting preferences with that of their parents.

    For all the kids who vote the same as their parents because they are their parents, I think there will be plenty of kids who vote differently to their parents because they are their parents. Perhaps, it's pretty close to a wash.

    Since Oct 2012 • 97 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to mpledger,

    Perhaps, it's pretty close to a wash.

    I suspect there will be more kids who vote climate emergency or other long-term issues than their parents do, across the "left-right spectrum" that is the only one our pundit class seem capable of understanding. The environmentalist-nihilist spectrum is incomprehensible to them, but even simple stuff like authoritarian-anarchist or monetarist-socialist don't seem to occur. Kids often lack those limitations.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1193 posts Report Reply

  • Walter Nicholls, in reply to Moz,

    I suspect there will be more kids who vote climate emergency or other long-term issues than their parents do

    As I'm sure it applies with 18+ although I can't just lay my hands on evidence in 5min searching. The general election results are too crude to determine this kind of thing since they can only distinguish voters by their electorate.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Jul 2008 • 38 posts Report Reply

  • Moz,

    Compulsory voting might be a different way to get a useful result. Having lived with it for a while I think the advantages very much outweigh the disadvantages. But combining it with allowing 12 year olds to vote if they want to might be problematic. On the whole I favour lowering the age more if we only get to choose one.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/mar/08/how-australias-compulsory-voting-saved-it-from-trumpism

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1193 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to mpledger,

    For all the kids who vote the same as their parents because they are their parents, I think there will be plenty of kids who vote differently to their parents because they are their parents. Perhaps, it’s pretty close to a wash.

    I like how that paragraph reads out.

    I remember having conversations about this sort of thing when I was 14. I was a student at Auckland metropolitan collage which was a state funded alternative school. We ran the school thru a type of democratic process. We used that process to introduce school rules such as no smoking inside the building, which I will remind you, was an ahead of its time idea for the beginning of the 1980s. Adults smoked cigarets in our houses. We had regular school meetings which included raising of the hand voting on all sorts of important things. In other words, our alternative school included democracy training across the board. It wasn’t just for those nurds who joined the debating club. I was lucky to get that early introduction to that uno type of democratic system.

    The conversation I remember was the business of schools who required letters parents for kids who didn’t want to attend christian studies. It must have been assumed at the time that children where spiritual blank slates.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4310 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to steven crawford,

    Sounds like a school modelled on A S Neill's Summerhill

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7887 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    The other Norman Kirks freaky legacy school which was also a state school, was in Christchurch. Four avenues it was called.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4310 posts Report Reply

  • Walter Nicholls, in reply to steven crawford,

    For all the kids who vote the same as their parents ... there will be plenty of kids who vote differently to their parents

    What we want of course is kids to vote the same when that is the right thing to do, and differently when that is the right thing to do, and for them to , er, have the wisdom to decide the difference.

    ... school included democracy training...

    My daughter has been griping for years about [the lack of] this. Actually what we could do with is some kind of compulsory "general studies" course that continues into the NCEA years. A week of law, another week of economics, politics, budgetting ... all this stuff that many would say that parents should be teaching their children but usually can't. (Hell, I don't know very much about law myself, and even in my own fields of expertise, that in itself doesn't mean I would be a good teacher).

    Direct democracy (participating in decision making) is also different to representative democracy (picking the people to make the decisions for you). Rationally looking at a politician's track record and determining if they can be trusted, instead of being swayed by rhetoric, is a developed skill.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Jul 2008 • 38 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Walter Nicholls,

    vote the same when that is the right thing to do, and differently when that is the right thing to do,

    Im not sure you can extend the current situation out in that way.
    Maybe its a one of.
    So many adults have a compromised view when it comes to climate and the future. Compromised by self interest usually, and a younger generation dont have that baggage. Going against the views of parents if their view is wrong on this is the right thing to do. And forcing a change thru some kind of vote and extending that vote outside current legal restrictions may be a way out of this looming mess.
    I’d like to see a way to unite in the face of it, after that well who knows!

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1881 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Reflecting back to my own between 14 and 17s, I realise If I had been allowed to vote, I wouldn’t have voted for the Muldoon-National government. And in hindsight, my peers had more influence than my parents. But that was during a time when children where protesting about a foot ball game.

    From my radicalised point of view, I think the children protesting about the procrastination over galloping climate change, is an educational opportunity for secondary schools in particular. Fourteen year olds are old enough to help elect our parliament. Or at least get an opportunity to learn what it’s like to be taken seriously as people. I understand some New Zealand schools do educate their students about what democracy is, theoretically. And there are schools such as Wellington High, that educate the students about democracy by applying it.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4310 posts Report Reply

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