New Zealand’s Supreme Court rules that not letting 16-year olds vote is a human rights violation.
· Nov 25, 2022 ·

New Zealand has ruled that the nation's current voting age of 18 is discriminatory against those who are 16 and 17.

The case involved a lawsuit from a group called Make It 16, who argued that young people should be able to vote on matters affecting them, like climate change.

Make It 16's Caeden Tipler, a 17-year-old girl that uses they/them pronouns, told the BBC that

"We now have the legal backing for what we've always known. I became incredibly frustrated. I felt like I knew just as much as the adults around me... I was more than capable of voting."

Isn't that the typical teenager right there? Wanting the rights of an adult, but not calling herself an adult and accepting the responsibilities.

The ruling does not automatically change the law, but it does mean that New Zealand's parliament will have to address the issue, and any change in electoral law would require that 75% of parliament vote for it, and with the National party opposing it, and the Labour party likely to oppose it, the law will probably remain at 18.

The main argument in support of 16-year olds being allowed to vote in New Zealand and other countries is that they often are allowed to have jobs and pay taxes, and the American values in me bristles at the idea of taxation without representation.

However, developmentally, teenagers have difficulty making long-term decisions. The pre-frontal cortex of the brain responsible for impulse control, memory, and complex reasoning does not begin maturation until around 18 and finishes around 22.

It turns out that the science backs up the Founding Fathers' original voting age of 21 as an ideal time to engage in civics.

There's a reason the feelings side of the political equation is pushing for lowering the voting age. They know that young people will mostly vote for them because they have difficulty reasoning through what those decisions will mean for tomorrow and difficulty remembering what horrible things politicians' decisions meant for them yesterday.

Remember how draconian the New Zealand government was during the pandemic and how well that worked out for them?

It's the same politicians championing lowering the voting age.

Most of these kids that were recruited to be the face of lowering the voting age are convinced the Earth will be destroyed in the next ten years. Make It 16's focus on climate change makes that clear.

Of course as adults, many of us remember being told the same thing when we were their age, and now decades later, we take all the climate-change fearmongering with a grain of salt.

We could probably solve the taxation issue by just not taxing the income of those too young to vote.

That seems reasonable to me.

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