Voting age change is on the books

Voting age change is on the books

Going after the youth vote has new meaning in Illinois.

If only our state legislators were as good at solving real problems — principally, the state's horrendous financial state — as they are at solving non-problems.

It's probably too much to ask. It's not hard for legislators to address a non-problem, and few people care if they don't because it hardly matters. But those real problems can be killers.

At any rate, those people who were worried that not enough young people have a chance to participate in the election process can rest easy.

The General Assembly has passed and Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation allowing some 17-year-olds the right to vote in primary elections. The new law applies only to those 17-year-olds who will be 18 by the general election.

In most cases, that means those who are 17 at the time of the March primary in Illinois will be able to vote in the primary if they will turn 18, the legal voting age, by the November general election.

Time was when age 17 was actually 17, making one ineligible to vote in elections where the minimum voting age was 18. Now, apparently, close counts in horseshoes, hand grenades and voting in Illinois.

State Sen. Terry Link, a Vernon Hills Democrat, said he was motivated to push the legislation because of his own disappointment at being denied the opportunity to vote in a primary election when he was just 17. Or perhaps he just didn't have anything better to do with his time in Springfield.

The right to vote, of course, is a precious thing, and it's difficult to oppose relatively innocuous measures like this that purport to encourage young people to take an active role in civic affairs.

But with rights come responsibilities — in this case the responsibility to study the issues and cast informed votes. In that regard, young voters can't do much worse than many older ones.

But, if nothing else, perhaps they can encourage their elected officials to address important, but difficult, issues as well as easy stuff that doesn't amount to much.

Sections (2):Editorials, Opinion

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STM wrote on July 08, 2013 at 12:07 pm

How cynical do you have to be to complain about this?  Apparently News Gazette anonymous "editorial" writers have less to do than Sen. Link. Anything that gets kids off their butts and taking part in the process is a good idea.  What are you worried about?  Do you not believe them to be well-informed? Any 17 year old who cares enough about the political process is probably better informed than a majority of the electorate.

I would wager a kid who watches the Daily Show or Colbert Report every night has a far better grasp of the issues than listeners to Rush Limbaugh or readers of George Will, or the News Gazette editorial page for that matter.

So, News Gazette, get off your tired old whiney Republican butts and go find us some real news.

bluegrass wrote on July 08, 2013 at 1:07 pm

I would wager a kid who watches the Daily Show or Colbert Report every night has a far better grasp of the issues than listeners to Rush Limbaugh or readers of George Will, or the News Gazette editorial page for that matter.

Understanding political issues and actions and consequences, and watching comedians like, make fun of stuff, are two different things. 

jthartke wrote on July 08, 2013 at 7:07 pm

And a third rate Sci-Fi author (Ayn Rand) who claimed self interest above all else (and then collected Social Security because her novels didn't sell) is certainly no better philosopher than Stewart or Colbert.

bluegrass wrote on July 09, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Ahhh.  So you do think that Stewart and Colbert should be considered philosophers, as long as they are not put below Rand.  Thank you for making my point above.

And to the original point of the actual news story, I really don't see why we're capping the voting age at 17 in a primary if you're 18 for the election.  Personally I think there shouldn't be a voting age at all.  With modern technology what it is, kids won't even need to hold a pen or read, they can see two faces on a computer screen and touch one.  I mean, that's fair right?  In fact, if a woman is at least 20 weeks pregnant, let's just give her two votes.  Or should it be 15 weeks?  Oh heck, women have been discriminated against too much in the past, let's just give all women two votes, pregnant or not.  But that really isn't fair to transgenders.... Okay, men get .5 per vote, transgenders get 1 ful vote, and women get 1.5.  And for people in the middle of a reassignment surgery, whatever sex you will be at the actual election you can vote as in the primary, as long as the surgery will be completed by the election.  Unless, of course, if in any option above you're a Tea Party member, in which case we'll have to have you register your vote with the IRS to see if it will count or not, and if so how much it will count for.  

It's all so confusing.  You know, maybe we should really leave all this philosophical and political decision making business to the true philosophers of our day, like Jonathan Leibowitz and Stephen Colbert.  They're like Obama smart and stuff.