If you didn’t think California could get any bluer, just wait until your liberal high school junior cousin, who thinks college should be free, suddenly has the right to cast their vote in a ballot.
An assembly constitutional amendment has recently been floating around that, if passed, would change the minimum age to vote in California from 18 to 17. While the intentions of this bill are in the right place, the more realistic intentions are just an attempt for Democrats to gain a firm footing in future elections.
The bill, introduced in March by Democratic Assemblyman Evan Low, is an effort to increase the abysmally low voter-turnout rates for young people, to instill life-long voting habits and to give young students more of a voice when it comes to education laws.
The bill has its roots in other laws like one which allows 17-year-olds the right to vote in primary elections if they are going to be 18 by the time of the general election. There was also a bill early last year that would have allowed 16 and 17-year-olds the right to vote in school board elections, but it was rejected by the committee, according to the Sacramento Bee.
While it is true that young people are the most important demographic when it comes to politics, as they are the ones most affected by certain decisions, this bill isn’t really about them. It’s about Democrats.
This bill poses the same ethically ambiguous ulterior motive as other bills of its kind, and that motive is to sway the vote to a particular side.
Voter identification laws have been masquerading for years as a way to combat voter fraud, when their only accomplishment is disenfranchising American citizens who can’t afford the high costs of obtaining a government-issued photo ID.
More than 21 million citizens do not have a government ID, and a disproportionate percentage of these citizens are minorities with low incomes, according to the ACLU.
Voter–ID laws are nothing more than a ploy to decrease the voter turnout in minority communities and to sway the vote.
It comes as no surprise that, according to The Washington Post, these laws are promoted “almost exclusively by Republican legislatures” who sometimes have trouble earning the minority vote.
This new assembly bill is doing the exact same thing, just in the other direction. The bill is pushed by California Democrats who would likely have even more overwhelming success in elections if high school juniors and seniors could vote.
The only difference between this bill and strict voter–ID laws is that Democrats have the advantage of claiming that lowering the voting age is all about expanding the vote, when really it’s only about changing the vote.
There are many young Californians who are indeed politically engaged and who make informed political opinions. If the Democrats backing this bill were really interested in hearing their voices, they would be listening more closely.
They would be going to schools, talking to students, encouraging them to write letters and emails, and ask them what kind of representation they need in their local government in Sacramento and Washington, D.C.
Instead, these Democrats are just interested in the political advantage gained by having an entire additional age group supporting them in elections.
They can boast about how positive this bill is, but they’d be lying through their teeth if they said it would not yield a self-serving result.
In the end, this is nothing more than politicians being politicians, rallying support, smiling for the cameras and trying to get a leg up on the competition.