Sooke News Mirror readers dispute appropriate voting age

Sooke News Mirror readers dispute appropriate voting age

A proposal to lower the voting age to 16 in Canada has sparked some controversy among Sooke News Mirror readers 0nline.

A letter from a Saanich student said lowering the voting age would engage more youth in the political process.

Reader Trevor Reid responded to the letter in a Facebook comment saying, “Kids are idiots now. The age should be raised not lowered. An 18 year old person used to have a family, a job, own a house and be an adult. At 18 now, kids are just letting go of moms nipple, they don’t want to work, can’t figure out what they want out of life but you want them to vote so they can be included.”

Kim Poirier disagreed with his comment, writing back, “Yeah, back when houses were $80,000 and jobs did not require a degree. Gas was 50 cents a litre and bread was two-for-a-dollar. Give your head a shake.”

Most of the comments said even the current voting age of 18 is too low, with suggestions of upping the age to 19, 21, 25 28, and 30.

“With kids nowadays, I would have to say 21,” said Paul Pudwell. “With no life experience they will just vote with no real understanding of the consequences, just like many people do now but worse!”

There were a few on the other side of the spectrum though, such as P Jean Oliver, who stood up for youth saying to make the voting age 16 with “pre-voting practice starting at age 12.”

Dave Wong agreed, saying: “Now there’s an idea–allow youth to be enumerated and cast a ballot, and tally them for informational value. Seeing how the up-and-coming are leaning, or just how many are interested, might motivate (or embarrass) the rest of the electorate to get their butts to the polls next time around.”

And some simply think the voting age is good right where it is.

“With what we understand currently with the teen mind and the sometimes irrational thought processes, it is difficult to say what the right age is for voting. Unless we provide good candidates for our children to get excited about, they won’t get involved at all even if we were to bring the voting age down. Until we can get more involved, there really isn’t a point in changing the age,” said John Rhoads.

But Jeremy Kyle replied “I think you might be shocked by how interested high school students are in politics and elections in particular. I have heard from teachers that it is difficult to keep students on topic during election cycles because that is all they are interested in discussing.”

Andrew Weaver, Oak Bay-Gordon Head and the leader of the BC Green Party, disagreed with the majority of Sooke News Mirror readers, as he wrote a letter saying students are mature enough to vote, because they are smart, tech savvy and have access to information like never before.

“After all, the youth of day are the leaders of tomorrow and they should have a say in the direction we are heading as they will inherit what we leave them in the years ahead,” he said in his letter.

“B.C. should take this chance to strengthen our democracy and lower the voting age to 16. These youth should have a say in the direction we are heading, as they will inherit what we leave behind. They have the greatest stake in the future.”