Sunday, May 4, 2008

Pa. House to Weigh Election Changes

17-year-olds could get vote in primaries

A subtle movement has begun in the state House that, if it became law, would change who can vote in Pennsylvania's primary elections.

One bill, authored by Democratic Rep. Jaret Gibbons, would allow the state's 374,350 registered Independents to vote in either the Republican or Democratic primary.

Currently, Pennsylvania holds closed primaries, which require voters to be registered as Republicans or Democrats to participate.

Another bill, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Richard Grucela and co-sponsored by Republican Reps. Gordon Denlinger and Scott Boyd of Lancaster County, would allow 17-year-olds to participate in primaries provided they turn 18 before the general election. (read more here)

While voter reform is a hot issue, it seems that this agenda is being pushed more by liberals and independants than Republicans.


Liberals can convince their minor children to vote for whomever mommy or daddy want them to vote for. Conservatives can, too.

But, can a young person who isn't allowed to make any legal decisions for themself be trusted to make political decisions for the whole country? Let's think this through.

They can vote for committee spots, whis is final at the end of the primary voting day. Also, if there are ballot initiatives, 17 year olds may turn the vote against a good, common sense measure, based purely on emotion.

Not that there aren't some very mature 17 year olds out there. But, let's be real. I was a very immature 17 year old. I wasn't much better at 18. Maybe it took until my early 20's for "real" maturity to set in. And I'm just one example.

Let's leave voting in the hands of legal adults. To change it now, just because someone cries "unfair" is just that for the rest of us...unfair.

The law says you cannot vote until you reach the legal age of 18. It's a sound law. 17 year olds don't have the maturity an the political savvy to make an informed decision about "grown-up" matters.

Stick to worrying what you're wearing to Prom and let the adults make the hard choices.

Try being a kid, until you turn may turn out to be fun.

1 comment:

jcs said...

I was involved in the political arena at age 15 and registered to vote at 17 -- I had to, since I turned 18 a mere 4 days before the 1996 primary, and it was a big deal for me to be able to vote in that primary, even though Dole was already the nominee. I even went so far as to solicit an opinion from the state bureau of elections in February 1996 to see if I, as a 17 year old registered voter, could sign and circulate nomination petitions (the answer was no, though I guess this legislation might change that.)

Through the years, I have met many more minors similarly engaged in GOP politics. While I know that I was and they are the exceptions and not the rule, I am not trying to prove that most minors are involved in or understand politics -- far from it, I know that most do not, nor do most 18 or 19 year olds or even many 20-somethings. Rather, the point I am making is that not all minors involved in politics are emotion-voting liberal Dems. There was no tidal wave of Dem votes when the vote was given to 18 year olds in 1971 -- most chose not to vote and those that did were fairly balanced. I think the same thing would happen if this bill were to pass - it would just be a drop in the bucket electorally, especially given that it only affects primaries. You'd be lucky to see more than 2 or 3 show up at your poll and those that did would probably vote how their parents voted.

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