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Should 16-year-olds in Poland vote?


Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
28 Feb 2010 #1
The ruling PO is mulling the possibility of extending the vote in local-council elections for staters to 16-year-olds. What do you think? Are average 16-year-olds politically sophisticated enough? Should there be many different ages of majority for:

-- penal liability (trial, incarceration)
-- drinking age
-- driving
-- voting
-- consensual sex, etc.
banderias - | 16
28 Feb 2010 #2
i think vote age must be 15, because future is belong to youth. and a person who finished his 15'th year, can realize which political party is true for country.

young people has dreams, as the age pass they lost their dreams, and accepts to the realities of life, stops to change the world..

because of that, they need to shout louder in managing to country.

PC: i am older than 18
Seanus 15 | 19,706
28 Feb 2010 #3
Run the whole gamut of consent and maturity ages and you'll see that there is a wide disparity. In Scotland, the age of criminal responsibility is 8. If that can be allowed for so many years, surely 16-year olds should be able to vote.

Also, adults can't raise the issue of superior knowledge so easily. Many adults are clueless when it comes to politics (religion or just about anything else for that matter). The up-and-coming youth represent a generation that's ever more cluey.
Matowy - | 295
28 Feb 2010 #4
I do not think 16-year-olds should be able to vote. Even if they do have superior knowledge of politics, they are still children and have an undeveloped and inexperienced view of things. Sure, there is the occasional teenager who is sensible, but the majority are simply not mature enough to influence politics.
f stop 25 | 2,513
28 Feb 2010 #5
Why the hell not... We might end up with some really good looking pro-marijuana leadership.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
28 Feb 2010 #6
For a start, knowledge cannot be used as a criteria as many adults don't have a clue and would fail even basic tests.

Look, are you aware how difficult a concept mens rea is? In Scotland, we deem 8 to be the age at which children understand it. In North Carolina, it's 6. In India, 7. Just because Poland sets it at 17 doesn't mean that everyone else should.

What do you mean, influence politics? Adults don't really influence politics much either (the majority).
vetala - | 382
28 Feb 2010 #7
a person who finished his 15'th year, can realize which political party is true for country.

When I was 15 I could not. Teenagers generally don't care about politics, unless it's something which directly influences their life - so they would vote for the person who would promise them more school-free days, permission to smoke in school and easier math tests.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
28 Feb 2010 #8
Just as adults vote for parties which could give them more money in their pockets, allegiance to other countries and more employment opportunities etc etc ;) ;)

Just because you couldn't, doesn't mean everyone else can't. Many adults don't care for politics either.

If they can understand the repercussions of sex (Spain = 13, average in Europe 15) then they can understand the key points of politics. I've taught many students aged between 12 and 16 who could easily understand the main tenets of politics if explained well to them.
Matowy - | 295
28 Feb 2010 #9
For a start, knowledge cannot be used as a criteria as many adults don't have a clue and would fail even basic tests.

I'm not saying they aren't aware or intelligent enough to vote, but that their votes can be more easily misplaced than an adult vote. At 16, teenagers are still influenced a lot by their family, are still in school, and presumably still live at home. Personally, I just don't think that's enough for someone to be able to vote clearly. They will be easily influenced by their family, or by their peers, or by their school system. I think adults are just as susceptible to such factors, but I don't think all of this needs to be further obfuscated by letting 16-year-olds vote as well. In another two years they potentially gain experience of the work system, further education, institutions the economy and all sorts of other things relevant to politics. A 16-year-old isn't typically going to have that experience, and will just vote by what they see on the surface (again, adults are terrible at this too, but they are a bit less susceptible).
Tymoteusz 2 | 353
28 Feb 2010 #10
Which party will this put into power?
Seanus 15 | 19,706
28 Feb 2010 #11
If they are so influenced by their family, they will likely discuss political issues with them if their parents are so much into it. Shaping is the whole point, Matowy. For those that think, choosing a political party is not so straightforward. Some may agree with some policies of PiS, for example, but agree with PO on other issues. People also change their parties through moving around and talking to people, age and disillusionment with who they voted for etc etc. I've changed my party before.

So you are saying damage limitation by not letting 16-year olds vote? That's not based on rights and level of development at all. Adults are learning the whole time too. When I studied Economics as a module at uni, I struggled. I've read so widely since then that I can understand better now. The point is, I can remember being 14 at school and being amazed at just how smart some students around me were. Politics was nothing compared to what they could comprehend notionally. Please accept that most adults don't go so deeply into it so why exclude 16-year olds?

So, for clearance, are they or are they not aware or intelligent enough to vote? The way I see it, some are and some aren't. Just like adults really, agreed? They are given the capacity to consent to more complicated things than politics when much younger.
f stop 25 | 2,513
28 Feb 2010 #12
I look at 15 year olds around me, and they judge people on their looks, first and foremost, and then on how much money they flash. I know, this might not say much about the cultural black hole I live in, but that's what it is.
krysia 23 | 3,058
28 Feb 2010 #13
look at 15 year olds around me, and they judge people on their looks, first and foremost, and then on how much money they have

Yeah but so do some 50 year olds. Lol
Seanus 15 | 19,706
28 Feb 2010 #14
The same could be said of many adults, f stop. Krysia is right.

I've worked with many Polish schoolkids of differing ages and I can safely say that many who are 14-16 could easily understand the main policies and operations of politics. The general level of understanding is high here. As a teacher, I often make judgements on understanding so I'm well placed to say.

Matowy made a good point with regards to experience, I'll give him that much. Why? Simply because I cannot vote in Poland yet (until I get my citizenship) but I read a lot on Polish politics. They deem me not to have the requisite experience of Polish politics. However, Polish schoolkids at 16 should have more contact than I, in theory anyway.
f stop 25 | 2,513
28 Feb 2010 #15
ok.. so here is another one: 15 year olds do not like old people. And by old, they mean anyone over 30.
Matowy - | 295
28 Feb 2010 #16
So, for clearance, are they or are they not aware or intelligent enough to vote?

Ideally, voting would be a privilege that is earned through demonstrated understanding. Since that is not possible, though, we can only discriminate based on the factor that impacts maturity the most, which is age. Voting done by adults is nowhere near perfect, which is why I think it's not needed to further add to the frenzy with a new block of voters who have even less objectivity than an adult might have. Teenagers are impacted more by external influences, especially by a charismatic authority figure such as family member or teacher. Thus, we don't have a new section of voters, but merely an extension of the voters that already exist, which isn't necessary.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
28 Feb 2010 #17
F stop, how about this? In Japan, there is the shinjinrui and rojinrui. The former are the younger generation who have a completely different view of politics than the latter, the older generation. There is a clear wedge between the two but both have a right to express their views and state their case.

Matowy, maybe we should disenfrachise black people for 'allegedly' being less intelligent? ;) ;) Maybe those 16-year olds would increase the voter turnout levels ;) ;)

Aha, so I was right, you think it's about damage limitation rather than the maturity of your average 16 year old!? Maybe we should also increase the age of consent to 18 across the board according to that logic. Are you aware of the complexity of criminality? Are Pakistanis, Tanzanians, Nigerians and Sudanese more intelligent and aware of potential repercussions than Poles? According to the level of education, I'd say not. However, the age of criminal responsibility there is 7 and 17 in Poland.

Things are not tidy and we have to live with that. I still feel that 16-year olds grasp the core issues enough to be able to vote.
Matowy - | 295
28 Feb 2010 #18
I certainly wouldn't be vehemently opposed to a 16-year-old voting age, it might even work out for the best, but as it stands I think it not a good idea due to the aforementioned reasons, damage control being the main one.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
28 Feb 2010 #19
So what do you say to those who voted George Bush, a war criminal, back into power? Did they understand well enough? Do they understand the Doctrine of Shock? Shouldn't they be reviled for allowing the person they voted for to run the US into trillions of dollars of national debt and let Dov Zakheim steal a HUGE amount from the Treasury? A 16-year old knows the man is a cretin. Where is the damage limitation then?
beelzebub - | 444
28 Feb 2010 #20
I think it should be even older in most places. 25yo or more to be honest. Your average 18yo isn't experienced enough to make such decisions. Of course they THINK they are but only when you are older do you realize how untrue that is.

15yo? No....f'ing way. a 15yo dpes not have the experience or sense to know what they are talking about.

The only people who will disagree are young people who think they know more than us older folks. One thing they do not have that is essential is experience. They do not understand the consequences of their actions yet because they haven't had enough time to experience enough.
marqoz - | 195
28 Feb 2010 #21
21 years is a proper age to execute all citizen's prights.
If a young Polish male can't marry without supervision,
if he can't decide about himself, why he could decide about another's fate.

I wonder why in USA, someone who even can't choose a poison for himself,
can decide about what his government will do to another copatriots.

Right to vote is not about voter's liberty,
it's about limiting liberty of other citizens (or better said subjects).
Matowy - | 295
28 Feb 2010 #22
Where is the damage limitation then?

I can't think of any counter to this.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
28 Feb 2010 #23
Beelzebub, please answer me this. Austria, Brazil, Cuba, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, Jersey, Nicaragua and Switzerland all have 16 as the voting age. Why? Are they any more or less developed than Poland?

Also, it's 16 in Bremen and some other places in Germany but generally 18. Are those Germans somehow better placed to vote? The authorities clearly think so.

How about the special case in Guyana where it's 17 and they must be accompanied by an adult? What if sb was a day off of their 18th birthday and went along with a dumb 18-year old for a quick 20 second primer before casting their vote? LOL

Well, go and call those countries who deem the age of criminality to be under 16 moronic.

Mexico and the US 6-12
India 7
Myanmar 7
Nigeria 7
Pakistan 7
Singapore 7
South Africa 7
Sudan 7
Tanzania 7
Thailand 7
Indonesia 8
Kenya 8
Scotland (UK) 8 [5] There are plans to increase it to 12.[6][7]
Bangladesh 9
Ethiopia 9
Iran 9-15 Age 9 for girls, 15 for boys
Switzerland 10
Nepal 10
Australia 10 [8] Age of criminal responsibility in Australia
Presumption of incapacity of committing crime: 14.[8]
England and Wales (UK) 10 [9][10]
Northern Ireland (UK) 10 [11]
Ukraine 14
Turkey 11
Canada 12 [12]
Ireland 12 [13]
Israel 12
South Korea 12
Morocco 12
Uganda 12
Algeria 13
Austria 14
China 14 Absolute minimum for acts that constitute the following crimes: homicide, wounding resulting in death, rape, robbery, arson, explosion, planting of toxic substances and trafficking in dangerous drugs. The minimum age for other crimes are 16. In Hong Kong, the minimum age is 7 and in Macau, 16

Estonia 14
Germany 14 [14]
Hungary 14
Italy 14
Japan 12 [15]
New Zealand 14 Children in New Zealand can be charged with murder or manslaughter or minor traffic offences from age 10. All other offences cannot be charged under 14.

Romania 14
Russia 11
Slovenia 14
Spain 14 [16]
Vietnam 14
Uzbekistan 15
Egypt 15
Finland 15 [17]
Denmark 15 It is about to be lowered to 14 [18]
Norway 15 [19]
Sweden 15
Iceland 15
Czech Republic 15 [20]
Philippines 15

I'll get the addresses to write to, you'll be quite busy ;) ;)

Interesting to note that it's 9 in Iran for girls and 15 for boys. That supports the theory that girls mature much quicker than boys. Maybe there should be a separate age for boys and girls in each country based on their respective maturity??? Maybe adults over 25 should be IQ tested or maturity tested? LOL
f stop 25 | 2,513
28 Feb 2010 #24
So what do you say to those who voted George Bush

That, IMHO, is the result of religious influences.
My statistical pool might have been small, but I know of 3 guys that changed their vote back then because they thought that if they don't vote for Bush, the gays will take over the world (there was some gay issue advertised right before the election).

That, really, is a cry for some kind of intelligence test for the voters. JK.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
28 Feb 2010 #25
Religious influences? So Americans are a bunch of Skull&Bones followers, is that what you are saying? Religion is but one factor in the many that shape our voting habits. Is PO more Catholic than PiS in Poland? ;) ;)

Beelzebub, why is it 18 to vote in Turkey but that 11 is the age of criminal responsibility there? I've studied criminality at undergrad and postgrad levels and politics is much easier I think.

They don't know anything (not 'no' btw), that's garbage!
f stop 25 | 2,513
28 Feb 2010 #26
Poland, I don't know about. I watched the growing influence of church in Poland with great trepidation. I think the separation of religion and politics in US, stated in the constitution, is one of the greatest pillars of this country.
Maaarysia
28 Feb 2010 #27
PO reached the bottom by such conception... Ofcourse not, if they allow 16 y.old to vote I will move out this country.

Personally I think that even 18-21 years old are pretty often too immature to vote...
beelzebub - | 444
28 Feb 2010 #28
Well I do think the age of criminal responsibility should be low...you are able to grasp right and wrong at a much lower age than you can understand the impact voting can have on the world.

A 12yo knows it is wrong to light the cat on fire but he has no concept of politics.

And in the US church and state may be separated in The Constitution but that's the only place. Anyone who thinks religion doesn't affect/control politics in the US is living a fantasy.
Maaarysia
28 Feb 2010 #29
Poland, I don't know about. I watched the growing influence of church in Poland with great trepidation. I think the separation of religion and politics in US, stated in the constitution, is one of the greatest pillars of this country.

Could you give me any examples of growing influence of church in Poland?? For me its just a PR.

My statistical pool might have been small, but I know of 3 guys that changed their vote back then because they thought that if they don't vote for Bush, the gays will take over the world (there was some gay issue advertised right before the election).

It has nothing to religion. Believe me even if a church hadn't contempt homosexualist, ppl (especially men) still would be homophobic. The same abortion, euthanasia etc. I know Cathlics who are pro-choisers and Agnostics (like me!) who are pro-lifers. So please don't mix religion into that.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
28 Feb 2010 #30
F stop, you've just said that religion played a huge part in politics and now they are completely separate. What's it to be?

Age 9

Iran (for females)[3]
Age 14

Albania [4]
American Samoa, United States
Isle of Man (for males)
Age 15

Iran (for males)[3]
Age 16

Cuba[5][6]
Kyrgyzstan [7]
Turkmenistan
United Kingdom
Uzbekistan [8]

The above are ages of maturity. You can't tell me that sb from the Isle of Man is less mature than any other. The UK is in there too at 16.

Beelzebub, please don't simplify criminality and mens rea to basic morality. It goes much deeper than that.


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