Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Friday, May 06, 2016

Court Allows 17-Year-Olds to Vote in Ohio

The 26th Amendment to our Constitution guarantees the right to vote for 18-year-olds. It was ratified during the Vietnam War on the theory that when someone is old enough to be drafted into combat, then he is old enough to vote. 17-year-olds, however, are not old enough to enlist in our military without the consent of their parents. They are too young to get married without the consent of their parents. They are not old enough to rent a car or to buy alcohol. They do not pay property taxes.

More than two-thirds of teenagers do not have a job today, a decline from two decades ago when more than 40% of teenagers were employed. Liberals have figured out that this demographic of jobless youth is more likely to vote for liberals than for conservatives. So to boost his chances in Ohio, Bernie Sanders' campaign sued to obtain the right for 17-year-olds to vote in the primary for president. The Secretary of State of Ohio had already decided against allowing 17-year-olds to vote in that primary, but the Sanders campaign ran to court to overturn that decision. An activist State court then ordered Ohio to allow voting by 17-year-olds who would turn 18 in time to vote in the general election in November.

At the founding of our Nation, voting rights were generally limited to those who owned land or other forms of property. Our Constitution leaves it up to each State to decide who can vote in elections. 20 states now allow 17-year-olds to vote in primaries or caucuses for nominating the president. A 17-year-old is too young to serve on a jury. Aren’t elections just as important as jury trials? I think the same minimum age requirement for juries should be used for elections, too.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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