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Gwen's Spot

10 October 2006

Susan B. Anthony All Over Again: In Which Gwen Exults

I'm too excited to not post this, but too busy to comment right now:

Polling officials allowed 17-year-old to vote
Teenager now facing felony charges
Eden Prairie, Minn. – September 28, 2006:
Calling it the biggest thing he has ever done in his entire life, Jesse L. Hunter voted in the Minnesota primaries on Sept. 12. However, Hunter is unlike other voters casting their ballots this year. He is only 17 years old.
"They [polling officials] examined my driver's license and asked for my social security number," Hunter said, "but they never seemed to notice that I wrote '1989' as the year of my birth. I voted, and walked out euphoric, bearing an 'I Voted' sticker upon my forehead."
Hunter tells fellow members at the National Youth Rights Association (NYRA) that he never intended to actually vote, but wanted to spark a conversation on the voting age. He considers the current voting age to be unfair to those under the age of 18. "I learned about the importance of voting from my high school government teacher," he said.
Hunter's mother broke down in tears after receiving a phone call from the district attorney's office informing her that her son will be charged with voting fraud, a class one felony in the state of Minnesota. According to the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission, a judge is allowed to give a sentence of up to 12 months in jail or other non-jail sanctions as conditions of probation for someone with no criminal history.
"Many adults take the right to vote for granted: more than 80 million eligible adults failed to vote in the 'high turnout' 2004 election," said Alex Koroknay-Palicz, NYRA's Executive Director. "Yet for exercising the central civil right in this country, Jesse is being charged with a felony."
"If Jesse was a year older, he would be applauded for doing his civic duty, but instead, he is being charged with a crime," said Adam King, NYRA's Vice President. "Jesse had the courage to stand up for what is right - for democracy - and he could go to jail for doing so."

About NYRA:

Founded in 1998, NYRA is the largest youth rights organization in the country. Based in the Washington, D.C. area, the organization is committed to fighting for increased rights of young people. NYRA has nearly 7,000 members nationwide."
Except to repeat my reply e-mail when it went through the NYRA-Discuss list:

"Remember Susan B. Anthony! Don't let anyone post bail!

"It will be seen, therefore, that the whole subject, as to what should constitute the 'privileges and immunities' of the citizen being left to the States, no question, such as we now present, could have arisen under the original constitution of the United States. But now, by the fourteenth amendment, the United States have not only declared what constitutes citizenship, both in the United States and in the several States, securing the rights of citizens to 'all persons born or naturalized in the United States;' but have absolutely prohibited the States from making or enforcing 'any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.' By virtue of this provision, I insist that the act of Miss Anthony in voting was lawful."

Ooh, I hope he takes it as far as he can! Go Jesse Hunter!
(And on a related note, I hope he's not convicted for good, because it would suck if someone became a convicted felon for exercising his right to vote, then couldn't vote again because of being a convicted felon...not to mention having to check that stupid "have you ever been convicted of a felony?" box. But then again, if people didn't think it was ridiculous when that fifteen-year-old ended up being a sex offender for exploiting herself by distributing pictures of herself engaged in sexual acts, they probably won't see this as ridiculous either. Voting fraud, my rear; every single person who supported Diebold machines is as-or-more guilty of that than he is!)"

Spread the word! A voter runs the risk of being labelled a felon, all because the Fourteenth Amendment means nothing...(you know all those people trying to get kids excited about voting so they'll vote when they're old enough? Number one way to get kids excited about voting: let them do it. Number two way: when they do it supposedly-illegally [because of an unconstitutional law], don't clap them in irons and call them felons.)

4 Meepage:

Anonymous Kathy meeped...

This is very interesting. It will be very telling in how it's handled. Maybe, if nothing else, it will draw attention to the fact that there are teens out there who are informed and have a desire to be involved in the voting process. I think our discussion a few years back about ways that this could be done warrants a revisit...or at least some more thought.

10 October, 2006  
Blogger SMG meeped...

I think voting is a scam.

By charging him with felonies the government wants to make it look like voting is SO special, SO important, and SO powerful, so we keep thinking it makes a damn bit of difference which talking head is on the dollar bill and that everything will be drastically different depending on which talking head sits in the chair.

Voting is the System's biggest scam.

Btw Gwen, thank you for visiting my blog and your comment!

12 October, 2006  
Anonymous Jim meeped...

Gwen, regarding your comment on John Scalzi's blog -- I think it would be interesting if some areas were to experiment with lowering the voting age (to 17 or perhaps to 16).

I couldn't cast my first vote until I was 21 (which was a very long time ago) and I was very pleased when the voting age was changed to 18.

08 November, 2006  
Blogger Gwen meeped...

Well, it's gotten close in California (half-votes for sixteen-year-olds, quarter-votes for fourteen-year-olds, American flags for all), and I think Vermont was considering it at one point, but I think that like same-sex marriage, America's sisters and brothers over the water are more likely to do it first. It's already been lowered for municipal elections in Lower Saxony, Germany, and I think other places as well; the Labor Party adopted it as part of its platform a couple of years ago.
And according to a report by the Victoria Electoral Commissions, the voting age is at seventeen in East Timor, Indonesia, North Korea (yeah, I know), the Seychelles, and Sudan, at sixteen in Brazil, Cuba (I said I know), and Nicaragua, and at fifteen in Iran. So...who knows?

08 November, 2006  

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