Should Young People Have Their Votes Count More?

from the crazy-ideas-that-might-not-be-crazy? dept

Glyn Moody points us to an article by Paul Sterne, that feels like it might be a Swiftian-style satire, but could just as likely be serious, suggesting that we get rid of “one man, one vote” and switch to age-weighted voting. At first I thought he meant giving older people more weight, but it’s actually the opposite:

Instead, America should implement weighted voting to make voting more objective and fair, and give the young more power, because the consequences of political decisions will affect them the longest. Weighted voting would restore power to twenty and thirty year olds, where it resided before the advent of medical science. With the aid of computers, it would be easy to give everyone a Voting Score, just like we all have a credit score.

He then goes through and suggests a way to calculate this voting score, which would take into effect the level of political understanding, voter participation rates and the amount of time that people would have to “live with the consequences” (i.e., longer if you’re younger). He weights the whole thing out and comes out with the following weights:

Yes, this would mean that 30-year-olds would have incredibly powerful votes. I would imagine that might distort the system itself. Since part of it is based on historical voting rates for each age group, if you give one age group a much higher voting power based on historical voting rates, you’re not taking into account that the increased power of their vote will likely bring out much greater numbers of voters. People who complain that their one vote doesn’t count for much, might feel differently if their vote actually counts 7 times.

Also, as he notes, this system means at the age of 80 you lose your right to vote (and, if you are older than that, your vote somehow counts against you?). Pushing me towards believing this is pure satire is the statement, “But then again haven’t these folks beaten the odds and outlived all their friends and they shouldn’t be voting anyway.” However, is there perhaps some value in the larger concept? There definitely are some issues that are generational, in which younger people know that, as they get older, public sentiment is likely to finally shift over (civil rights being a big one), and I wonder if a voting system like this might speed up some changes that could be good. At the same time, it seems like there could be some pretty serious negative consequences for older folks. While they may be out of touch on some issues, does that really mean we should deny them the right to vote? Doesn’t seem worth it.

Still, in a world where many people consider one man/one vote sacred, are there better ways to handle things?

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Comments on “Should Young People Have Their Votes Count More?”

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Paul (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

One reason I like reddit …. You can always edit your response! It seems no matter how hard I try, I often post with a glaring grammatical error that I kin only see once I have posted….

Besides, I would sometimes like to add clarifications latter, or delete something I wrote because I misread the previous poster, etc…. All of this adds to the conversation, so I am not sure why we cannot edit our own posts after submission (speaking from a conversational not technical perspective….)

Beta (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

How about this: Alice can edit her own post as much as she likes, until Bob replies to it.

The next step is to allow Bob to set a “you may eat your words” flag (default off) that would allow Alice to edit her post even after his reply is up. If she does, maybe his reply becomes invisible to everyone but him, until he reinstates it.

weneedhelp (profile) says:

Re: Re: Dumbest concept EVER.

“Imagine it a one party system”
Oh you mean like we have now? Republicrats, is what we have. Only the illusion of different parties, both bought and paid for by corporations, and special interest groups. Both parties only worship the almighty dollar. Politicians should have to take a vow of poverty while in office.

Matt Bennett (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Dumbest concept EVER.

Well, there is a completely separate problem wherein politicians, particularly those in congress, best-interests are pretty at odd with those of their constituents.

Classic example: Entitlement programs. Almost everyone understands that dealing with it in some way is important, no one has touched it for decades because it’s the “third-rail”. If the other party touches it, it’s very easy to demagogue it as “killing old people’s healthcare” (or whatever). Doesn’t matter if the accuser actually agrees with the person who suggested changes, it’s just an easy attack ad.

Also: regulatory capture of all kinds, excessive bureaus deptarments, laws to “protect the children” (just good grand-standing opps, really, but still result in real laws), and public unions.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Dumbest concept EVER.

I totally agree on the regulatory capture -once we attack the “one person = one vote “idea, politicians and lobbyists will all try to get THEIR constituents more power. People will say “Hey kids know nothing and old people know more, so THEIR vote should count more” or “People with degrees know more, so their vote should count more” It is tempting to try to limit the power to vote to make the country more the way “we” want it, but it is a dangerous power and a potentially slippery slope.

hegemon13 says:

Re: Re: Hmmm.

“…if people were involved…”

Huh? Where do you think the formula would come from, exactly? Tree rings? If there is a formula to weight votes, it will be crafted by people in power. That formula, transparent or not, would be adjusted over time, to “fix” it and to make it more “fair.” Ultimately, those with the deepest pockets would buy the formula.

Cowardly Anon says:

I think that with a few tweaks this could be a great idea.

Not that it would ever in a million years be implemented mind you. You see, those older people in politics can’t relate to the younger generation, but if they keep hitting it off with the older people who are known to vote more why should they have to?

They wouldn’t be too eager to change things now.

Anonymous Coward says:

Oh, I get it: we twist around the concept of Democracy so that the opinion of some people is more important than the opinion of other people. That’s real smart.


Now seriously, Democracy is supposed to be about EQUALITY and FAIRNESS.

Sure, they’re just talking about ages discrimination. But what about when they start discriminating by social status, wealth, job, race or religion? Should your vote be worth less because you drive a Ford instead of an Aston Martin?

It’s a very slippery slope.

MrWilson says:

Re: Re:

I think wealth discrimination is a good place to start if you’re going to start discriminating officially. The more you make, the less your vote should count. The wealthy “vote” with lobbyists, the revolving door, and bribery/corruption already. They don’t need to actually vote also.

A Dan (profile) says:

Re: Re:

That’s sort of the point of this. Older people can affect our lives in a way that we can’t affect their pasts. Do you really think that, for example, young people would have raised the drinking age? Or that old people would have raised it when they were below that age? People are voting things that don’t affect them, and they have that power because they’re “old enough”.

What would you do if the country raised the voting age to 21? There aren’t enough people under the age to block it by themselves. Conceivably, they could keep doing it. That hardly seems just, since they don’t lose that ability they had when they were young.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I’m not condoning people texting and driving BUT … at least they were distracted.

What are scores of old people doing when they drive through a farmers market killing people? Telegraphing and driving?

Safe driving operates on a very obvious statistical curve with the very elderly being just as dangerous as the very young.

DannyB (profile) says:

This idea means that a smaller group of people have to be manipulated. Also, that group may be the most easily manipulated.

Think about it. At 20, many people are idealistic and sometimes zealots about things. Even at age 20, some still have a very black and white view of every topic. One view and everyone who supports it: absolutely right; the other view and everyone who supports it: absolutely wrong.

At age 20, do you really understand politics as well as at age 30, or 40? Heck, do you even know geography? Do you have an understanding of business (the good and bad)?

If you’re going to weight the vote, weight it based on intelligence.

(The lower your IQ the more your vote should count.)

Atkray (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

If you look at my avatar it is a Utah license plate, we elected orrin hatch(I don’t respect him enough to capitalize his name) so I am painfully familiar with your feelings about senile old farts in the senate.

I don’t think people are discriminating in their comments it is just a fact that when you are young you lack experience, and generally speaking, experience is a key component of wisdom.

Some of the students I am currently going to school with that are 20-30 strike me as future leaders. The rest spend class time playing farmville and then wonder why they are barely passing.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

it is just a fact that when you are young you lack experience, and generally speaking, experience is a key component of wisdom.

I have some serious doubts about this sentiment. Yes the young lack experience but that doesn’t mean the elderly are wise. Actually, this very discussion assists in disproving this point.

Assuming the following:

  1. Older people are wiser.
  2. Wise people make better voting choices; therefore, older people make better voting choices.
  3. Many more old people vote than young people.

The logical conclusion would be that the current incarnation of our government is always created by our wisest and eldest … and yet everyone is unhappy with it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Let me help you out. Are old people wiser? Yes, wiser than they were when they were young. You will be wiser as you get older. Are old people wiser than young people? Almost always. The thing is old people don’t make up the majority of the population. Young people don’t vote.

As for why we, as a country, are unhappy with our system, it’s because we don’t get what we vote for. We have lobbyist and the courts running our country.

AJ (profile) says:

It will cost more

Apart from the more complicated vote couting, if you disenfranchise the older (retired) members of the population they aren’t going to be as interested in running the polling stations. The election judges at many US polling stations are retired people who get paid very little for the very long hours they have to work on a election day. This idea would reduce their willingness to give back to society in that particular way, thus the cost of elections will go up as it would probably become necessary to increase the pay to attract enough judges.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: It will cost more

if you disenfranchise the older (retired) members of the population they aren’t going to be as interested in running the polling stations.

Oh, so instead of the 70 year-old grandma spending 3 minutes trying to find my name in the (alphabetized) polling book but can’t squint enough to read my driver’s license and the book despite them being an inch from her face, there’d be a college kid that remembers that R comes before S?

And we’ll have a college kid who averages more time typing on her phone in a day than the old lady trying to help by looking my name up on this contraption with the glowy letters on a TV screen with an attached typewriter thingy?

And who gets to fix the touch screen voting machine when it malfunctions, Ms. I-built-the-GPS-nav-system-of-the-DARPA-grand-challenge-winning-automated-car or Mrs. I-married-Bob-who-retired-from-IBM-before-Steve-Jobs-shaved-his-beard-but-passed-a-few-years-ago?

(No, I really don’t feel this way about older people, but as everyone else is calling younger voters stupid and inexperienced, I felt the need to balance it out with some anti-fogey-ism.)

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: It will cost more

So you want to add lazy and indifferent to the list of what young voters are guilty of?

You know what? Fuck that. Here’s what I really think.

Why is this country in trouble? Why are we 14 trillion in debt? Why is our infrastructure crumbling? Why are our social programs at risk of going bankrupt? Why are the politicians all bought by big business and special interests?

Hate to break it to you, but it’s the old people’s fault. If you’re over 50, you’re to blame. I don’t think you were stupid, just naive.

You let the politicians convince you they could spend more money and reduce taxes at the same time. You didn’t vote them out of office.

You let the corporations take over without being held accountable. Your affinity to power and trusting those in it let this happen.

You wanted the big house in the suburbs and a big car to drive, just like the Cleavers. So you lived the American dream on credit and stuck your kids with the bill. You let the oil companies drill the wells and you happily burned the oil. You bought off half the third world countries and let Russia buy the rest so you could fight wars without getting your hands bloody, and now they’re coming for your kids’ blood. You let the media scare you into consumerism, and now we can’t turn on the news and see truth.

You made us clean up our rooms – it must have been training for having to clean up the mess you’ve made of the world.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 It will cost more

John, you have it all wrong.

“You let the politicians convince you they could spend more money and reduce taxes at the same time. You didn’t vote them out of office.”

Two different groups of people. One group says we need all these social programs and the other group says we already over spend and are not raising taxes. Can we agree there is waste in government? If they can’t get rid of the waste then I am not giving them any more money. It was there choice to go into debt rather than cut spending. And I do vote them out when ever I can, but the YOUNG keep voting them in because we have to thin of the children.

Anonymous Coward says:

I think the idea is based upon the points
1.) Older people misunderstand the political situations and ramifications of their decisions, therefore making their decisions(in spite of their experience) very poor.
2.) They really don’t have to live with the ramifications of their decisions. They’ll die before anything happens.
It may be a bit swiftian, but like all good swiftian satire shows the flaws in the current system.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I don’t know why but your comment made me think of metered internet billing.

I bet older people would vote for a law that forced/allowed metered billing. After all, they only use those tubes for e-mail and the nice man at the cable company said they would save 25 dollars a month.

Of course, they don’t understand or appreciate the consequences and by the time it comes back to haunt the rest of us they will likely be dead.

wulfman (profile) says:

Lean twords the Libs

Quote ?If you’re not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you’re not a conservative at forty you have no brain.

Guess its a move to lib up the voting base ?
I think we have had enough of Libs for a while ?
I think a libertarian viewpoint is more sane.
Nether the repub-o-crats or the dem-o-pubs are getting it right.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Lean twords the Libs

I’m really starting to hate the word “liberal.”

People have started using it as if it were an insult when it really doesn’t say anything. What is a liberal? A social liberal? A fiscal liberal?

Here is the definition of liberal: Open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values.

Anyone who isn’t open to new behavior or opinions and anyone who believes in preserving traditional values at all costs isn’t called a conservative … they’re called a stubborn idiot.

Anonymous Coward says:

I’m not a big Robet Kiyosaki fan, but he said something that’s stuck with me:

That said, you’re putting them in position of great power over the older less important voters.

But the more important lesson here is that all men (and women) were created equal and should be counted equal. This is a slippery slope. Should the rich get more votes because they have a greater financial impact on society? Should college graduates be treated less than people with their Masters?
Should Harvard Grads get to vote 10 times over someone who goes to a small university?

I don’t want anyone carving up power based on class. That’s feudalism and it’s not what this country’s about.

E. Zachary Knight (profile) says:

Here's a novel idea

If you want to give more power to younger people when it comes to voting, the best thing to do is to get more young people out to vote.

Sad to say is that older people are more likely to vote because they came from an era that was actually taught to love the ideal of democracy and to be involved in the political process. These people grew through such times as World Wars, Prohibition, Suffrage, Civil Rights etc. They were exposed almost daily to the political process.

Not so much today.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Here's a novel idea

I agree. The reason older people have so much sway in politics isn’t because their votes count more, it’s because they actually vote. If young people want more sway, then they should go vote. But they don’t, partly because they’re idiots. So now he’s proposing giving them more voting power simply because they’re idiots? The guy must be an idiot.

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Re: Here's a novel idea

Those in the age group of 21-30 usually do the most traveling. They are also working and we have no national voting holiday.

Older people usually have more time to look at the issues and vote as they see fit. When can someone in their 20s, who has college and a part time, take the time to vote or key themselves into the issues?

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Here's a novel idea

1) Unless you’re military, that’s not the helping the issue
2) If people are traveling such as a musician from place to place, do you really believe they’re making a difference in the local economies? Enough to register to vote and go do so?

Relevance to local cause is what we need here.

3) It’s like you blame people for out of state colleges, internships in other countries or states, or not following the most charming politician who speaks nice on TV…

4) see #3

The Original Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Here's a novel idea

1. Many people vote absentee when they are going to be out of town during election day, even those who are not in the military. My kids vote absentee because they are in university away from their home town.

2. AFAIK, everyone in the US only gets to vote once in each election (except maybe Chicago) and they are supposed to vote in the place where they have their permanent residence. Musicians, especially the rich ones, may have more than one residence, but they are only supposed to vote at one of them. Elections don’t pop up out of the blue. They are announced well ahead of time so that everyone who wants to vote via the absentee system should be able to do so.

3. I’m not blaming anyone for anything. I’m attempting to explain to you that I don’t believe the reasons you gave for not being able to vote are valid.

4. Systems of government that involve citizen participation, call it a democracy, republic, or commune, rely on the citizens making informed decisions. Citizens have an obligation to inform themselves. Otherwise it would be less expensive and a lot less painful to just pull a name out of a hat. We wouldn’t be subjected to daily political propaganda and the lobbyists wouldn’t know who to pay off.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Here's a novel idea

Those in the age group of 21-30 usually do the most traveling.

Then they can use absentee ballots.

They are also working and we have no national voting holiday.

Voting booths are open for a long time on the day of election, there is early voting, absentee voting, and most jurisdictions require employers to give time off to their employees.

When can someone in their 20s, who has college and a part time, take the time to vote or key themselves into the issues?

So people who apparently have no time to figure out what’s going on and how to vote are the people we should give the most voting power to? Look, if they’re not going to take the time to educate themselves on the issues, they shouldn’t have more power to vote than someone who does.

I’m not saying all young people are idiots. I’m saying people who don’t take the time to vote shouldn’t be coddled and given more voting power simply because they were idiots in deciding not to vote. If someone isn’t going to learn about the issues, make a decision on where they stand in relation to those issues and vote accordingly, then they are the ones who are at fault, not the other people who do.

Atkray (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Here's a novel idea


I’m 50+, taking care of the last 2 kids still at home, providing emotional support and guidance for the ones age 20-30, work 45-55 hours a week, am now working on an advanced degree, and I even found the time to run for office in 2008. If you can’t find time to learn about the issues and candidates it’s because you are either:

1: Lazy
2: Apathetic

Sorry Jay, usually your posts are thoughtful but unless my headache is making me miss the sarc mark people in their 20’s have the time, they just lack something else.

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Here's a novel idea

The issues here with younger people is finding out why they don’t vote in larger numbers. Maybe they don’t see the influence of their vote because of how we’ve set up all the different parts of the voting system.

It may just be, most people are busy with their own lives, not paying attention to the politician at all. Hell, if you’re a Democrat in a Republican state, there’s almost no reason to vote because you have no chance.

The variables should be found and weighed against each other in importance. I’m to think that if more people are given options, they’ll vote closer to their beliefs. Right now, the system is set up so that only two choices are represented and both could be the worst of what a party has to offer.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Here's a novel idea

+1 for Jay.

I see the three replies above me are talking about absentee ballots and “making” the time, but there is no denying that old people vote more because they have more time and fewer concerns; not because they “camed from a generation what was raised up right.”

Also, maybe some of the people replying need to lookup absentee ballots. Only 28 (maybe 30, depending upon how you read the law) states even allow an absentee ballot with “no excuse.”

There was a lot attitude the three responses about educating yourself if your going to vote, too bad those same people don’t educate themselves before commenting.

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Here's a novel idea

Speaking of people who refuse to educate themselves…

As of Sept 2007 (according to here) there are only 16 states that don’t no-excuse early voting available. They are:

South Carolina
New York
Rhode Island
New Hampshire

Of those 16, Pennsylvania is the only one that doesn’t allow simply being absent from your voting precinct as an allowable excuse. In short, the vast majority of people have absentee voting as an option. There is a very small group of people (young, old and middle-aged, it’s not like the absentee excuses only apply to the young) that cannot vote due to travel. I’d venture to say that the small amount of people who can’t vote due to travel are far outweighed by the number of people who don’t vote simply because they don’t think it’s important.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Here's a novel idea

Speaking of people who refuse to educate themselves

So I can add you to the list? Re-read that Wikipedia article because the 16 number you are quoting is related to EARLY voting not absentee voting.

The rest of what you wrote is irrelevant because I never said anything about travel. A lot of younger people have jobs that make it very difficult to get to the polling place and most states that require an excuse don’t accept “working” you actually have to be out of the precinct.

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Here's a novel idea

the 16 number you are quoting is related to EARLY voting not absentee voting.

Absentee voting and early voting are essentially the same thing. They allow you to vote without having to be at the polling place on a specific day. The only major difference is that early voting requires you to physically be at a place and absentee voting allows you to mail your ballot. Some states allow early voters to mail their ballot. In those cases, they are the exact same thing.

The rest of what you wrote is irrelevant because I never said anything about travel.

But Jay did, and your +1 to him never excluded his travel comment.

A lot of younger people have jobs that make it very difficult to get to the polling place

So do a lot of old people.

and most states that require an excuse don’t accept “working” you actually have to be out of the precinct.

This is wrong. Had you bothered educating yourself, you would have known this. I’ll break it down for you.

There are 19 states that don’t have laws specifically relating to time off for work on election day. They are:
New Hampsire
New Jersey
North Carolina
Rhode Island
South Carolina

Florida has many jurisdictions that do have laws. Louisiana and Mississippi don’t have specific laws regarding time off, but other laws have been interpreted to mean the same thing. That reduces the states to only 16. But I’ll add Massachusetts, because the time-off laws only apply to employees in manufacturing, mechanical, or mercantile establishments.

Of those 20 states (we’ll include Mass), 10 require an excuse for absentee/early voting. They are:
New Hampshire
Rhode Island
South Carolina

Of those 10 states, six allow work during polling hours as an excuse for absentee/early voting. The remaining 4 are:
Rhode Island

Looking into those 4 states more closely:
Connecticut allows being out of town during polling hours as an excuse. So if work is out of town, you’re good to go. Also, their polling places are open for 14 hours.
Massachusetts has the laws requiring time off for employees in certain businesses. Polls are open for at least 13 hours, and if you are in line before closing, you are entitled to vote.
Michigan polls are open for 13 hours.
Rhode Island polls are open for at least 12 hours, some are open 13 hours, many are open for 14 hours.

Keep in mind also, that just because the state doesn’t require time off, doesn’t mean that employers can’t/won’t/don’t give time off.

Are you seriously going to say that the number of people that live in those 4 states that have jobs that require them to be away from their polling place for more than 12 hours or more whose employer doesn’t give them time off to vote is a large number? Are you also willing to say that the majority of those people in that already small group are young?

Let’s face it; young people don’t vote for all sorts of reasons. Working is no more an excuse for them as it is for any one else. I’m all for looking at ways to encourage more people to vote, and I’d love it if all states required time off for voting. As it stands however, there is a very small number of people that can’t vote due to work.

I’m not saying old people vote more because they were raised up right. And I’m certainly not saying that all young people and only young people are apathetic or idiots. All I’m saying is that time isn’t an issue. For the most part, young people that don’t vote do so because they don’t think it’s important or don’t care. But that’s probably true of young people even back in the 1788-89 election as well. As they get older, more of them realize how important it is to vote and so they do. That’s why you get more older people voting than younger. And certainly not because young people travel or because a majority of young people are working 14 hour shifts at McDonalds in Rhode Island.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Here's a novel idea

Thank you for admitting you were wrong. Well, not really admitting but at least pointing out how incorrect your original post was.

Early voting isn’t the same as absentee voting. In most states you have to go to the election board office in your county and they are open banking hours.

I never said that the ONLY reason young people don’t vote is because of work or travel, but they are two of many reasons. I was actually prevented from voting in two elections once while I was in college as I had class all day and work in the evening and another time because I had two jobs. While NY has laws requiring time off from work, those laws don’t cover people with multiple jobs or persons who both work and go to school. Additionally, most polling places in my area have very long lines if you try to go early in the morning (primarily old people.)

I’m glad you had a chance to brush up on absentee and early voting but disappointed that you have still come to the conclusion that time is NEVER a factor in young voter turnout. I’m assuming it has been a long time since you were young.

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Here's a novel idea

The only thing incorrect in my original post was that Philadelphia actually does allow travel as an excuse for absentee voting.

You said:

you have still come to the conclusion that time is NEVER a factor in young voter turnout.

Now let me quote myself.

As it stands however, there is a very small number of people that can’t vote due to work.

Sure, I’ll admit, I also said:

All I’m saying is that time isn’t an issue.

I thought I was being clear that I was NOT saying it’s never an issue for any one. I guess it wasn’t, and for that I apologize. I was saying that it’s not a major issue in the grand scheme of problems with elections for younger people any more than it is for older people.

Early voting isn’t the same as absentee voting. In most states you have to go to the election board office in your county and they are open banking hours.

Thank you for pointing out how little you actually read of my post. So I’ll quote the relevant bit of my post here for you to probably ignore again:

Absentee voting and early voting are essentially the same thing. They allow you to vote without having to be at the polling place on a specific day. The only major difference is that early voting requires you to physically be at a place and absentee voting allows you to mail your ballot. Some states allow early voters to mail their ballot. In those cases, they are the exact same thing.

New York City’s In-Person Absentee Voting (their words) can be done at the Board of Elections’ Borough Offices from 9-5 (9pm on election day) Mon-Fri and on the weekend before the election. New York City also allows you to mail in your absentee ballot. New York (the state) doesn’t do in-person absentee voting, only by mail. On election day, polling hours in New York (the state) are 15 hours. It’s too bad that you were one of the few that time really was an issue for. And I do mean that.

In the spirit of education, here [Warning: PDF] is some data on who holds multiple jobs. Turns out, older people are just as likely to hold multiple jobs as younger people. Since this discussion is ultimately stemming from a claim that young people have less time than older people, it seems pretty relevant to point out that work (according to the data) is not any more of a time drainer for the young than it is for the old (if indeed time is really the biggest issue in either case).

I never said that the ONLY reason young people don’t vote is because of work or travel, but they are two of many reasons.

Correct, what you did say was:

there is no denying that old people vote more because they have more time and fewer concerns

You have failed to demonstrate that. I’ve shown that work is not likely to be the reason why more old people vote than young since only 3 states (4 if you include Massachusetts) don’t have laws requiring time off and don’t allow work as an excuse for absentee/early voting and I’ve shown that younger people are just as likely to have multiple jobs as older people, so work is not the reason why older people vote more than younger people. Every state allows for absentee/early voting for travel outside of the jurisdiction, so travel isn’t going to be an issue either.

Where is your data that shows that “time and fewer concerns” are really the reasons that older people vote more than younger? If you have it, please elucidate me. I’d love to see it. I just can’t find it. There is this article [Warning: PDF], but it mostly says that older people vote more because of social norms and because of how long they’ve been where they live. There is little talk of free time being an issue.

I’m assuming it has been a long time since you were young.

While I think I’m old some days, old people would still consider me a young whipper snapper, especially as I skateboard by them.

Matt Bennett (profile) says:

So, I know it’s always fun when someone screams “liberal bias” but, well, here it is.

So let’s establish this guy is probably a far-left liberal. I don’t know the guy, but following the guys profile revealed a bunch of stories talking advocating repealing the second amendment, a pretty solid sign.

And second part is that liberals have a history of advocating various demographic counting, districting, and voting changes that change the setup in their favor, ofteh in fairly shady ways.

Actions proposed (a lot of these, no coincidently, involve race, most involve them indirectly, please pause, just amoment, before you call me a racist):

*Redistricting to make sure there are formed majority-minority districts (that is now more or less law, and there may have even been good reasons in the past, but currently it forms solid Democratic blocks where there might otherwise be none)

* Basically making it impossible to form any form ID checking law at polling places, on the theory that some disadvantaged people do not have ID (does seriously anybody believe this? I’d love it if it wasn’t true, but you can’t blow your nose without an ID these days, and there are many ways to get an ID for free). This allows illegal aliens to vote and makes double voting much easier in general, especially in urban areas. I know in my various moves around Boston, I absolutely had the ability to vote multiple times in different neighborhoods, if I wanted.

* various laws supporting unions, and making it much easier for them to engage in political action. To the extent that unions are adopted in this country (thankfully shrinking) it is mostly mandatory to be in those unions, and a large percentage of union dues, often the majority, goes to political contributions, almost exclusively democratic.

*Wanting to “statistically weight” census results to increase the numbers reported for urban areas, on the theory that those people are under-counted. That may or be true, but keep in mind that illegals are explicitly counted (though not asked if they are illegal) and it definitely helps the liberal side,as metropolitan areas vote much more heavily democratic.

This is really just another long line in the same thing. The electorate does not vote sufficiently Mr. Stearns way, and so he would like like to “adjust” things. The old vote consistently and tend to be conservative, so Mr. Stearns would like to see that minimized, and all the young people who voted for Obama maximized.

Further note that this system only makes sense if you think the old tend to vote selfishly. There is some evidence that this is true, making it near impossible to touch Medicare or social security without hysterics, but the old have also shown tendencies to think about the future and future generations much more than the young might.

I Paul Stearns were writing satire, but unfortunately, I think he’s serious.

Matt Bennett (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Mmmmhm, not really. Republicans have been heavily involved in gerrymandering, but of course so have democrats. Every other vocal attempt to play some sort of “accounting tricks” with either people or votes has been pretty liberal focused.

I’d be open if you could point out any counter-examples. Republicans have tried to neuter public unions in various ways, but I’d say that’s more a “reset to neutral”, and it’s not really an “accounting trick”.

Primary voting states? ‘Course, without that, small states would just be washed out, and it’s really the individual small states pushing for that anyway, both parties, even though it does work out in some of the race based rural vs urban stuff.

Like I said, just give me some examples. Major ones, not a tiny little thing in north west Oklahoma or something.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

blah blah blah, the other team does things i don’t like, blah blah blah, the other team does thing i think are illegal, blah blah blah, the other team is bad.

That about sums up not only your post, but most political discourse in this country. When will people learn to express their views in terms of what they think is right and what they think should be done rather than in terms of what they disagree with?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Wow, way to miss the point. I don’t want to cite counter-examples. I don’t want to make lists of accusations against republicans and democrats.

If anything, your response simply proves how much you are a part of the problem. You view politics as a team sport and anyone who isn’t cheering for your team while jeering the other is an “enemy”. Here we are, having a somewhat joking conversation about counting votes and you can’t resist an opportunity to talk about how great your team is.

Also, nothing in my post indicated if I lean more liberal or conservative, my entire point was that people need to stop talking about politics in terms of us vs. them. Something you are apparently clinically incapable of.

Matt Bennett says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

No….I think I got your point. You want to accuse me of just emptily rooting for my “team” without any real cause behind my words.

But you don’t want to have to in anyway justify that as the case. You want to paint me as mindlessly jeering without having to back up your own blather.

Well…that’s not OK, you don’t get to do that.

You fail, shut it.

Joseph K (profile) says:

Other voting systems

The article seems to assume that old people are more short-sighted because they have less life left to live, but you could also argue that young people are more short-sighted because they haven’t lived as long, or that they’re more short-sighted because far fewer of them have born and raised kids yet. Moe broadly, any system of differential weighting of votes just seems inevitably arbitrary in how it weighs them.

As for other suggestions for alternative votes: how about a system of changeable votes? What if, say, you voted for Obama, and then decided, two years into his term, that you don’t like what he’s doing and then could change your vote to another candidate. If Obama lost the plurality to another candidate, say McCain, he’d be replaced by that other candidate? Anyone think that would work well? It would make politicians much more responsive to the will of the people, but it would cause more political dislocation.

How about a system of divisible votes? What if, say, everyone had ten votes and could allocate them however they wish? For example, you could give 6 votes to Obama, 3 to McCain and then 1 to Bob Barr, or something. How would that work?

Then there’s the AV system that was proposed in Britain (also called Instant Run-Off) is that a good idea?

Wiggs (profile) says:

Re: Other voting systems

I’m actually a fan of the AV/Instant Run-Off) idea. Your ‘divisible votes’ would essentially accomplish the same thing, ranking candidates in order of preference, rather than forcing everyone to vote for the candidate they think can win a general election.

It seems to me that this way, we would have less choices that amount to “the guy that sucks or the guy that sucks worse” and more choices like “hey, this guy’s okay, and these next two might not be so bad, but I really loathe this guy”.

I realize it’s a bit radical, but I would be in favor of immediately imposing term limits on every member of the legislative and executive branches, instituting AV, and then having a massive re-election for anyone who’s gone over their limit at the end of their current term.

Of course, this will never happen, because all of the politicians are way too fat and happy on their $200,000+ yearly salaries + kickbacks to ever vote for something that would be against their best interest. Power corrupts, and then corruption feeds more corruption, and then you get the current state of US politics.

Andrew (profile) says:


Interesting idea.

Would the weightings be adjusted over time, so if this model encouraged (say) twice as many 30-somethings to vote, would their vote count for less next time? (Or even this time?)

How granular should this be? If I were a particularly diligent student of politics (and took some sort of test?) – or indeed just more intelligent / better educated than most people – would I get extra points?

Should my vote, as a man, count for less than a woman of my age because I am likely to live less long? If I were a smoker, should my vote count for even less?

It’s good to think about, but ultimately I believe it would be skewed to benefit the elite most (because someone has to set the rules) – the same problem with the otherwise worthy ‘benign dictator’ system of government.

Obligatory Churchill quote.

TimothyAWiseman (profile) says:

I hope this is satire, because it makes relatively little sense. For one thing, while there is some truth to the idea that the younger generation will have to deal with the consequences longer, only some. A 50 or even 60 year can expect to live for several more decades reasonably and will likely see a lot of the consequences foisted upon them by the results of the votes.

Moreover, while it is true that giving the younger generation more power would help hasten certain good social reform, it is also likely to bring in many short sighted policies that would have been blocked wtih greater wisedom.

crade (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Not to mention the changes are generally not irrevocable. If people don’t like the “consequences”, they can vote for change in the next election they don’t have to live with them until death.

Also, common: “wisdom”? lol. You get to pick between a giant douche and a turd sandwhich and every year everyone is either like “man, this guy was a giant douche, I’m votin for the other party next time!” or “I’m votin X. I always vote X and aint nothin gunna stop me!”
Which one is the wiser one?

Alex L. says:

Log-rolling instead

Instead of weighting votes, simply allow vote trading.

You would have a computerized systems that managed it all in a buy/sell order fashion much like stock trades are done, so identities are still anonymous.

But the issue with the current system is my neighbor and each have a vote. We would vote different ways, but I REALLY care about this particular topic while he only has a leaning towards his. On a different issue however, he cares vehemently and I only care minorly.

So a real example is I could trade my vote on certain tax referendums or school bonds I didn’t care about in exchange for someone’s vote on the Senator which I do care about. So lets say I could trade all my votes on everything for 3 extra votes on president maybe. This would let people convey the importance of the belief not just simple majorities.

Bengie says:


I think it’s less an issue of age affecting voters as age affecting politicians.

Politicians have no technical understanding and A LOT has changed in the last 10-20 years. They are unable to keep up with the change.

I think we need both wisdom and knowledge. We have a bunch of people passing laws who have little knowledge and even in their infinite wisdom, they make HORRIBLE choices.

Knowledge and Wisdom are equally important.

In my above babbling, I assume older people tend to be more “wise” and that’s what I see quite often.

Matthew A. Sawtell (profile) says:

WTF! Somebody Drinking the Eugenics Kool Aid Again?

Mike… WTF? Isn’t this the sort of four star BullShyte that gets spouted by folks like CCP? For a guy that whines about copyright/trademark/patient issues – I would have thought you would be against foolishness like this… unless you think you have some sort of “guanxi” to protect yourself with.

Matthew A. Sawtell (profile) says:

Re: Re: WTF! Somebody Drinking the Eugenics Kool Aid Again?

Re-reading the post… “Pushing me towards believing this is pure satire is the statement” … “Doesn’t seem worth it.”

Oops… {long pause} … {facepalm} damn, that was not very polite of me to do that – sorry about that Mike.

Paraphrasing Denis Lemieux from Slap Shot – “I do that, I go to the box, you know. Two minutes, by myself, you know and I feel shame, you know. And then I get free.”

Anonymous Coward says:

I definitely think that there are more older people in places of power, resulting in younger people living under the tyranny of the old. In my opinion, older people tend to favour the status quo, while younger tend to favour change. As there are more older people in powerful positions, the result is an unhealthy emphasis towards keeping things the same. I would therefore be in favour of restoring some balance.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:


Yes, ok…now all we need is a carousel, and my plans are complete. Life is wasted on the old…we can get enough votes together that we can clear the world of all the old people (well, people over 35 years old,) and then we can live carefree lives with nobody worried about being on someone else’s lawn.

Oops…I am over 35 now. Nevermind. Nothing to see here, move along.

ethorad (profile) says:

alternative weightings

Thinking about it as a concept for a moment –

While I can see the merit in the idea of determining how long you’ll be affected by the government I don’t think it really has much of an effect. After all, government policies change fairly frequently. A decision made today is likely to be reversed or amended within the next 10 years say. As such everyone who is likely to survive for most of those 10 years should have an equal say. You’d therefore only really start to drop off the weighting over age 70 say which would probably cost more (in money and hassle) than it would stand to improve the system.

I don’t think the voter involvement should be in there. It seems to be a weighting to give each age bracket the same weight in the total result. If you want to do this – and I don’t see why you would – why not have it like the electoral college where you see who each age bracket votes for and then see who won the most age brackets (or whatever other buckets you want to use). That would cope with changes in voter turnout due to different weights.

While I think adjusting for political understanding as a concept is a good idea, to make sure decisions are made by those who understand what they’re voting on*, I think trending by age masks a whole load of individual differences. I think this is too broad an adjustment to make to someone’s vote. A better determinant might be level of education, but that’s not really a good indicator of political understanding either.

One adjustment I do think could be good would be tax weighted. Since the government is there to decide how to spend the tax payers’ money, why not weight votes by how much you contribute to the tax pot. To avoid disenfranchising people the weighting should be flattened so paying twice as much tax gives you a weight less than twice as much and there should be a minimum weighting so that those who pay no tax (eg low income / on benefits) would still get a vote.

This would mean those who have to fund the government get the greatest say in how their money is spent which seems fair to me. It could also be self correcting, as parties who like to lower taxes will end up giving their high-wealth and thus high-tax supporters proportionally less power in the vote.

*some sort of test of understanding would be better applied to our legislators than our voters I think!

- says:

Re: alternative weightings

You know? Voting with money with diminishing returns is exactly what I’ve been thinking about in the recent weeks.

Overall I like it, but I identified some problems too:
-Income from such taxes would swing a lot with economy changes
-It would widely change from year to year based on what elections do you have in it
-It creates a strong incentive to buy others’ votes
-Anonymity might be hard, but seems solvable

ethorad (profile) says:

Re: Re: alternative weightings

While the total amount of tax collected will swing with economic cycles, would the proportion paid by different individuals change much? Maybe it does, after all being made redundant would reduce your tax paid and thus your weighting relative to someone who is still working – don’t really know what the overall effect would be.

The first two points could be dealt with by using a longer control period. For example considering the total amount of tax paid over the last four or five years (maybe rating up for people who have just become old enough to start paying tax).

Agree that since your vote somehow needs to be linked to your individual weighting factor there would be issues with protecting anonymity. Perhaps tax-paid-bands would give some protection, but if you know someone’s age, rough level of wealth and district that probably narrows down which vote is theirs fairly well. I’m sure electronic voting machine manufacturers will rise to the challenge and come up with something secure 🙂

Not sure I see why it creates more of an incentive to buy votes than the current system?

I guess it means if you do want to buy votes then there are certain people with high weightings who you would target – but they are likely to charge a lot for it, since they’re by definition rich and probably wouldn’t want to get caught selling votes for pennies. With diminishing weights you might be better paying small amounts to a lot of lower tax payers for their votes

Of course with any mass vote buying you’d probably have to do it indirectly as with the current system, whereby votes are “bought” by promising services etc to sections of the electorate.

Niall (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: alternative weightings

Although it’s a nice theory, I think you’ll find that someone with a low income actually has a lot more interest in what the outcome of votes are. If you are well-off, most changes are (relatively) affordable – but if you have almost nothing, even small changes can have a massively disproportionate effect.

No matter the system, there is always the risk of disenfrancising someone. Much better to encourage more people to use their existing votes!

Wes says:

Bad Logic

“Weighted voting would restore power to twenty and thirty year olds, where it resided before the advent of medical science.”

This is actually an argument against giving younger people more weight than older people in elections. When average life expectancy was shorter, the OLDEST SEGMENT of the population was still better represented in elections.

It follows that the oldest segment should still be in that position.

Jonny says:

Not quite complete

Young people don’t know everything, but neither do old people. Experience fades over time, and people get stuck in their ways/refuse to adapt to changes…
I think the age at which people get the most votes in this model is a bit early, the 40-year-olds should get the most votes in my mind, but after 40 the votes should go down again.

OC says:

age vs life expectancy

If something like this was implemented it would not take long until your age is swapped out for how long you are expected to live. Genetic disease? No vote. Broke your back in an accident? No vote. Brown eyes? No vote.

I can’t see it happen in any civilized country in this day and age. But then… we do have politicians.

drkkgt (profile) says:

“would take into effect the level of political understanding”

I love this line. So “someone” would need to come up with a test or evaluation method that would check political understanding as part of the Census (per the article.) Does this mean the incumbents would vote on defining “political understanding” prior to the Census so that they ensure the right set of voters?

srf (profile) says:


The US Constitution requires a census to ensure fair representation of seats in the House. We’re supposed to strive for a one-person-one-vote type of thing. This sorta goes against that, so I’d say it’d be considered unconstitutional.

Aside from that minor glitch, it makes no sense. The idea that older people’s knowledge, experience, and emotional maturity should count less than people that probably haven’t had children yet, can’t appreciate why they need Medicare, don’t know the names of their local representatives, are still taking financial support from their parents, have never had a mortgage…is just ridiculous.

The logic that old people don’t have to live with the consequences of policy decisions as long as young people isn’t really true. Some consequences only happen when you’re old, like cutting Medicare benefits. Young people might feel cut off from the consequences if they won’t kick in for 30 yrs, whereas older people would be more focused on it now.

Anyway, what a waste of time even talking about this. Worst idea I’ve seen in a long time. Wreaks of the arrogance of youth.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: congratulations

LOL. It’s *idea* being proposed that is arrogant. Not anyone’s post. It’s a stupid, unconstitutional idea that discriminates based on age. It says that people of a certain age should collectively overrule others. It says “I’m 30 something, therefore I know better and should have more power.” That’s arrogant and untrue.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: congratulations

It says “I’m 30 something, therefore I know better and should have more power.” That’s arrogant and untrue.

The only thing I learned from your post is that you didn’t read the original argument at all.

Also, not liking an idea doesn’t make it unconstitutional. While you must be allowed to vote if you are 18 years of age or older, the constitution doesn’t require that your vote be equal to the vote of another person. Also, the 18 an older amendment is just that, an amendment; it could always be changed again.

srf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 congratulations

I certainly did read it. It and you are arguing for the abolishment of one-man-one-vote. I didn’t realize that I needed to point out that we have things like the Voting Rights Act, the 15th amendment, the 24th amendment, the 19th amendment, a variety of SCOTUS decisions like Reynolds v Sims, all of which reflect a general recognition that every citizen is entitled to a full vote. Nobody’s vote counts more than anyone else’s. Period. Black, white, male, female, young old, regardless of everything. We even let people vote that can’t read the ballot.

Why is that? Because there is no way to agree on any weighting formula that wouldn’t be seen as unfair to somebody.

I agree, liking an idea doesn’t make it unconstitutional. But independent of the fact that I don’t like the idea, it’s unconstitutional.

Of course you are free to start a movement to get the majority of the country to petition the states and representatives to repeal the voting rights act, women’s suffrage, etc etc and apply your arbitrary formula. Let me know how that works out for you. 🙂

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 congratulations

First, you’re a douche bag. The original article was clearly satire and it seems incomprehensible that you wouldn’t respond to it as such.

Second, way to quote a bunch of amendments and case law that say nothing about voter equality. I think it is hilarious that you immediately assume that I am arguing against “one person, one vote”. I didn’t. I simply pointed out that people are constantly screaming “that’s not constitution like” when they don’t agree with something. The constitution states only that government representative will be elected “by the People.” It is no more specific than that. You can talk all day about how the supreme court has interpreted those words but you cannot claim that the constitution guarantees “one person, one vote.”

Amazingly, I actually believe in one person, one vote. However, unlike you, I believe it out of personal convictions … not through a false appeal to authority.

otb (profile) says:


If experience is what gets you into two unfunded wars in one decade…

If experience is what gets you a collapsing dollar, industry regulating themselves, and an our of control military-industrial complex…

If experience is what has legislated this country into incarcerating more of its citizens than any other place on Earth…

If experience means War is Peace, institutes the Ministry of Truth, and destroys one’s respect for the Constitution…

Then I’ll be sure to drive into a bridge abutment before I hit 30.

Arrogance of YOUTH?!


srf (profile) says:


Sounds like a youthful tantrum happening here. Proves my point. Can we have the vote formula reduce the weight for using all caps?

By the way, not following you on how life experience causes wars, deregulation, incarceration, and Orwellian government. I could blame it on the apathy young voters exhibit by not showing up at the polls.

Anonymous Coward says:


Umm, re-read your post then turn your thinking cap up to 11 because it makes no sense.

First, nothing anonymous coward said “proves your point.”

The current system was voted on by the older wiser people, they represent the majority of the vote, therefore they are responsible for our current government. Your last statement is the best, you want to blame young people for the government created by old people because young people don’t vote. It is basically the polar opposite of everything else you’ve said.

otb (profile) says:

You go old people, lay the wisdom on us

The youth are obviously so terribly confused.

Or… perhaps they’re just completely disenfranchised by the incompetence and corruption so entrenched in a system that completely disdains them, their ideas, and their opinions.

Go ahead old folks – keep legislating your bigotry, your unwinnable wars, and your trickle-down economics.

We root for the day that you die.

hegemon13 says:

Are you kidding me?

How does this even pass the laugh test on TechDirt? I could scarcely believe my eyes when I saw that TechDirt was actually giving some credence to a concept that is abominably anti-civil-rights, anti-liberty, and anti-democratic.

Suggesting that this might “speed up some changes that could be good.” For who, exactly? The weighted majority? The point of one-man, one-vote is create a equality across the board, to ensure that every person and every viewpoint is represented. Weighting one segment of the population not only breaks that, but it exaggerates the biggest danger of pure democracy: abuse of the minority by the majority. That very danger is the reason we have a republic.

In addition to that, what have we come to as a society when we treat the viewpoints of our elders as disposable? Once, we treated the wisdom of elders with respect. Are some of the elderly “out of touch” on some issues and stubborn in their ways? Sure, but they act as a counter-balance to the whims of the young, which are easily shaped and swayed by propaganda, and could lead to disastrous consequences if left unchecked. Often, that stubbornness is not so much a result of being out of touch, but with having lived through the consequences of past government actions.

I say all this as a 31-year-old man, so don’t assume I am reacting to attack on my “power.” Using this idea, my age group would be the most powerful, by far, and that is a terrifying notion.

- says:

Re: Are you kidding me?

Suggesting that this might “speed up some changes that could be good.” For who, exactly? The weighted majority? The point of one-man, one-vote is create a equality across the board, to ensure that every person and every viewpoint is represented. Weighting one segment of the population not only breaks that, but it exaggerates the biggest danger of pure democracy: abuse of the minority by the majority. That very danger is the reason we have a republic.
Let me quote Leo Tolstoy:

When among one hundred men, one rules over ninety-nine, it is unjust, it is a despotism; when ten rule over ninety, it is equally unjust, it is an oligarchy; but when fifty-one rule over forty-nine (and this is only theoretical, for in reality it is always ten or eleven of these fifty-one), it is entirely just, it is freedom!

hegemon13 says:

Re: Re: Are you kidding me?

Exactly. While we (the US) start wars all over the world to bless them with democracy, we have forgotten that democracy is not what made the US unique. It was liberty, and when you have real liberty, it doesn’t much matter how your leaders are chosen. Democracy tends to provide the best check against a totalitarian takeover, but only when tempered by a constitution that protects individual liberty.

Of course, the US has proved that, given time, even a constitution that expressly protects those liberties can be overridden by the executive through fear-mongering.

PrometheeFeu (profile) says:

One theory in favor of elections is that it prevents violence. If most people don’t like the way things are going, they don’t need to pull out guns, instead, they vote for a change in policies. In other words, it aligns official political power with real power. (more so at least than systems in which a small minority has absolute official political power) From that point of view, that system may make some sense. Past a certain age, your contribution to an armed rebellion would be close to nill. Therefore, we could probably ignore the voices of the elderly. Should they rebel, we could withdraw wheelchair ramps and turn off elevators effectively confining them to a rather small operational theater.

Anonymous Coward says:

No taxation without representation?
How about we turn it around and say No representation without taxation? The amount your vote counts directly correlates to large your effective tax rate is.

You’re a super rich guy that takes enough deductions to only pay 0.05%? Good luck electing your guy

You’re a regular joe that doesn’t get many deductions beyond mortgage interest and maybe a kid or two and have an effective tax rate of 17-25%? You get a vote

You’re a drain on society and getting money back when you didn’t even earn any money this year? No vote for you.

Patty (profile) says:

Age weighted voting

I think one of the reasons Merck went down the tubes was because they laid off so many people over 50 from the early 90’s on and left the company in the hands of children. They also laid off anyone the least bit odd or outspoken and thereby trashed the ecological dynamic of the company. I understand that the young have to live with societal decisions longer but I think America has essentially forgotten the importance of experience. We humans make enough mistakes because of our short life spans. We keep having to learn the same lessons over and over. This is a misguided proposal.

Darryl says:

The term for that is discrimination.

What is wrong with the existing system ??

Where you votes are based on your income 🙂

It would also be unconstitutional. the “all men are created equal”.

(except black people), who by your constitution are only half ‘equal’.

If you want to win votes from the community you state what you will provide that community should you be elected, therefore it is clear that age has and should never have anything to do with it.

It’s discrimination, and at least here in Australia that is illegal. (as im sure it is in the US as well).

Shane Roach (profile) says:


I dislike the way this article attempts to use a discussion about potential satire to treat a scurrilous as if it were worthy of discussion.

This is the exact same sort of thing that used to be used to support having to be a land owner to vote, or only men. This has to be one of the five or six stupidest things I have ever heard as a suggestion on how to make things somehow better or more equitable.

I have an idea. You only get to vote if you serve or have served in the military. Such service proves that you actually have to stones to do something about it if someone tells you your vote is about to count for less.

Take that little “improvement” and choke on it for a while. (I first read that idea in a Heinlein book, by the way, just to be fair about proper attributions.)

Leon says:


but America was founded on the principle of inequality, only land owners used to be allowed to vote, then eventually all white males, then black men, then finally women, if you look at it the history of this country has been about old white men using the poor to do their bidding, at least historically, which has inevitably led to the gap between socioeconomic classes, but really my point is that our voting system has evolved over time to make it more fair for everyone, and those people who have reached an age over life expectancy have been given more opportunity to have their votes count over their lifespans, it seems unfair to me that someone who will very likely die fairly soon would have yet another opportunity to mold the political landscape for the future, maybe I am biased because I see the way politics have evolved in this country and part of me blames the older generations for letting the problem become larger than it once was, they put us in debt, they built us into this imperialistic nation and try to say that it’s a democracy, they built prisons instead of schools, gated communities and project housing, they talk about America as if it was made up of these small town neighborhoods, they took the voices of entire generations away simply by not allowing everyone to have a fair shake and then say that America is so great because everyone can have the American dream, and people like Tupac Shakur or the Notorious BIG are threatened by censorship because they tell the story of a different side of America, the side that they would rather ignore because it’s inconvenient to the narrative of America being the land of opportunity, I would rather my vote count more because I can at least acknowledge the problems this country has, instead of trying to censor out anyone who dissents with my opinion or even worse resort to calling people names, it’s not about political correctness, it’s about common courtesy

Itzhack says:

Should Young People Have Their Votes Count More?

Maybe we could consider a system where the weight is distributed in a normal curve. That was young (read inexperienced) and old (read who are not going to be impacted as much by a “bad” decision ) will get less weight than the middle age group. The highest weight will be with the middle age group who are on one hand, experienced enough and on the other hand, also have enough time ahead of them to consider the consequences of their votes.

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