Politics Don’t let 16-year-olds vote. Voters are uninformed enough already

08:30  07 march  2021
08:30  07 march  2021 Source:   washingtonexaminer.com

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Rep. Ayanna Pressley has a terrible idea to expand who can vote in the United States, and the House of Representatives overwhelmingly rejected it on Wednesday.

a man wearing a suit and tie © Provided by Washington Examiner

The Massachusetts Democrat’s big idea: lower the voting age from 18 years old to 16. It failed 125-302, with every Republican opposing it and 93 Democrats joining them.

While Pressley wants more young, likely Democratic voters at the ballot box in future elections, there is a serious problem she and others who think minors deserve to vote ignore. The country already has a woefully uninformed electorate, and this would make things worse.

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Perhaps the biggest problem with voting today is that we have far too many people voting who have no idea what they’re voting for. They’re filling in bubbles to elect people they have never heard of to do some job they don’t understand.

Ask the average person who their state representative, state senator, congressman, or county treasurer is — or if they can name a couple of people on their local county commission, board of selectmen, or city council. Even if they voted in those elections, there is a good chance they don’t know the answer to those questions, let alone what they do or who else ran against those elected officials. That’s the case despite widespread internet access.

A 2018 Johns Hopkins University poll found that 1 in 3 voters can’t name their state’s governor, and 4 out of 5 don’t know who represents their district in the state legislature. Additionally, a 2017 survey from Haven Insights showed that just 37% of people knew who their congressman was in the U.S. House of Representatives. Plus, a 2015 Fusion poll revealed that younger voters are disproportionately uninformed. It showed that 77% of millennials could not name one U.S. senator from their state. For less prominent positions, the name recognition is likely lower for all age groups.

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Now imagine if we throw 16- and 17-year-olds with less developed prefrontal cortexes into the voting base. Would it help the unfortunate problem we face or make it worse? Should we want an electorate that knows what they’re voting for or not?

And voting for your preferred party is no substitute for doing your research. The R or D next to someone’s name, if there is one, doesn’t necessarily tell you what someone supports. There are pro-life and pro-gun Democrats, and there are Republicans who support amnesty for illegal immigrants and letting biological males play women’s sports. This diversity of opinion is especially relevant in less prominent races where the issues are different than they are in national or even state politics.

On top of that, how can we expect people to know what they’re voting on if they don’t know who they’re voting for? There is evidence that certain candidates receive more votes depending on the ballot order. A University of Pennsylvania study found that the first candidate on the ballot in a race is 4.8% more likely to win a race than the average candidate in the race. Plus, conventional political wisdom says that candidates tend to perform better in their hometown, as a 2015 research paper from the University of St. Louis, Missouri confirms.

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If voters are so uninformed that they pick the guy with the letter A in his last name or the woman from their Podunk just because they live sort of near each other, then maybe what this system needs is fewer, but more informed, citizens voting.

Tom Joyce (@TomJoyceSports) is a freelance writer who has been published with USA Today, the Boston Globe, Newsday, ESPN, the Detroit Free Press, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Federalist, and a number of other media outlets.

Tags: Opinion, Beltway Confidential, Blog Contributors, Voting, Ayanna Pressley, Congress

Original Author: Tom Joyce

Original Location: Don’t let 16-year-olds vote. Voters are uninformed enough already

Trump’s false claims of voter fraud inspire flurry of voting restriction bills .
In statehouses around the country — most notably, Georgia — lawmakers are rolling out legislation that would make it a lot harder to vote. They’re considering dozens of restrictive bills to purge voters from rolls, limit early and absentee voting, add voter ID requirements and eliminate automatic and same-day voter registration. In short, bills are being introduced to prevent something that didn’t happen in 2020 — widespread voter fraud — from recurring in 2022, 2024 and beyond.

usr: 1
This is interesting!