Thought exercise: why are adults automatically exempt from this proposal? What defines deciding and voting like an adult? Is it people who vote for the same party as me? Is it people who vote for the things I find sensible? Where is this seemingly-arbitrary qualifier of voting like an adult (specifically when it comes to voting)?
What defines eligibility, period? In Canada, you have to be at least 18, a Canadian citizen, and resident in the riding where you want to vote (length of residency varies depending on if federal, provincial, or municipal). There's an airhead on FB who insists that having permanent resident status allows her to vote, but that is utter BS. It doesn't. Mind you, she also insists that only people with children have a say in educational matters, which is also utter BS. I pointed out that if she had ever voted in a municipal election, she would know that people who cast school board ballots are asked if they want the public ballot or the separate (Catholic) ballot. They are never asked if they are parents (which would be absurd - since many teachers don't have children, should they lose their right to a school board ballot because of that?).
And? A lot of things are discriminatory, I am fine with that. Are you not? We don’t let mentally ill people pilot planes. Oh the horror of discrimination against the mentally ill! The lines were drawn in the past: 18 to vote. Fine by me. Some smart kids can find their way to become early voters, Sounds good too. If they can prove their capability - even better.
Common knowledge has it that at 18 one is more or less ready to take part in political life, this knowledge, based on local experience, is very consistent throughout the world. I understand you want to change that? You’ll need a very strong argument.
And how would they prove their capability? I had to point out to my grandmother that voting for a woman as mayor just because she was a woman was not a good enough reason. Yes, she would have been the first woman mayor we'd had, but before voting, we needed more information. So I told her I was going to the all-candidates' forum and she should come with me. There's nothing like evaluating a candidate by hearing them speak and watching their facial expressions and body language and weighing the tone of voice.
My grandmother's conclusion was that she would not vote for this woman "because she's too smooth" (in her way of talking). I didn't like her for another reason - when someone in the audience asked for a show of hands to see which candidates had ever taken public transit, this woman peered around to see if anyone else raised their hand. A few did, so she put hers up to a little past shoulder-height as if she was thinking, "Oh god, don't let anyone I know see me do this". Well, since she was a well-to-do businesswoman living in one of the poshest parts of town, I didn't believe her for a nanosecond. She would not have taken the bus, and in fact council's general attitude on the issue later (she did end up winning) pretty well confirmed my impression that most of them were generally clueless.
How do you define "taking part in political life"? Even babies take part in it indirectly if their issues become election issues. The major parties have youth categories of membership and they can be "youth delegates" at nomination and leadership events. These kids - teenagers younger than 18 - are generally used as unpaid labor, either doing mundane office stuff during campaigns, running errands, or helping put up lawn signs. During that time they are taught the party line, what to say, and what to believe. Some of these youth members go on to run as adults. Some have made politics their lifelong job, without ever having done any other sort of work. They don't know any other perspective, and too many don't care to learn. Some of those are the people we have at high levels in federal and provincial politics. One of them is our recently departed ex-premier of Alberta, Jason Kenney.
People don't magically turn 18 and know how to vote. Maturation varies per-person. People diminish mentally as they get older, and we don't discriminate against them.
Exactly. Kids need to learn how the political system works, and how voting works. Every federal election, I see people writing in to the comment sections of my news site, either spreading misinformation or in a panic because they don't actually know these things. I learned the how of this stuff in my junior high social studies class. I didn't actually learn what polling stations are like until it was my first time voting. I remember feeling proud that I could finally do this, but nervous because I didn't know what to expect.
Nerves keep some people away. They see a row of people sitting there, ballot boxes on the tables, the voting stations off to the side, and there are rules about things you can and cannot wear (nothing campaign-related - no t-shirts or buttons or hats or pins that endorse any party or candidate). Nobody chats much, and open discussion of candidates and parties isn't allowed. I remember being annoyed when I was one of those election workers, and a guy asked me, "Who should I vote for?".
Never say that to an Elections Canada worker. They aren't allowed to answer either verbally or by gesture. I just repeated the instructions I'd given him - take the ballot to an unoccupied voting station and mark an X in the circle next to the candidate of his choice. I don't know who he chose, or if his was one of the spoiled ballots. I just know that it's really frustrating when the public doesn't follow the rules.
Some people who comment on the news sites relate their experiences at the polling stations. I told one woman not to worry; the experience she and her sister had was legit - that was the standard procedure. Another woman had been a new DRO and had been confronted by a man wearing religious garb who demanded that his entire family accompany him to a single voting station. He intended to make sure his wife, sisters-in-law, and mother all voted as he told them (not that he said this, but that's the obvious conclusion I reached).
I asked her why she didn't tell him no, that they had to be at separate voting stations. The answer was sheer intimidation and she was too scared to even think of calling the Presiding Deputy Returning Officer/Poll Supervisor over - they would have had the authority to deal with it - by kicking him out if he refused to follow the rules.
So I told her she should report this incident to the Returning Officer anyway. It would be useful feedback for training future EC workers faced with obstinate voters who tried intimidation.
Having been a federal Deputy Returning Officer and knowing the procedures has meant being able to stick up for myself now that I can't access the physical polling stations. I know when someone in the Returning Office is handing me a line of BS, trying to claim that no, in-home special ballots don't exist. I know my rights, and I know where to find the procedures in the online Elections Canada manual published on the website. It's infuriating that the news articles never mention this voting method that's for disabled people like me. The assumption is that we either don't vote, or aren't allowed. They're surprised to hear that there are only two adult Canadian citizens who are not allowed to vote in a federal election: The Chief Electoral Officer and their deputy. Since they have to resolve disputes, they must be strictly neutral. So they don't vote. Everyone else has the right to vote, even if some snooty Returning Officers don't think so and don't want to bother with the extra paperwork it takes to send a team to the home of a mobility-disabled voter with additional barriers to using mail-in ballots.