Wednesday , October 20 2021

Johanna Nylander: Do not lower voting rights


Photo: Bjorn Mattisson

Adults are responsible for making decisions and taking responsibility, but children should not be required for that responsibility.

In Sweden the voting age is 18 years. It is at 18 to become an official, to vote, and no longer in the eyes of the team count as a child. There are some other legal age limits, such as when you have to ride a bicycle helmet, buy alcoholic beverages, earn your own money, sterilize or be held responsible for crimes, but 18 years is the continuous age of authority. At 18, one can also be elected to the Riksdag and lay the law of the country.

The age of authority is not perfect. Most 17-year-olds have ever wished they were a little older, others that they counted as children a little longer. But it is the limit that exists, and it is important from a political perspective to distinguish between children and adults. Adults are empowered to make decisions and take responsibility for them. Children should not be required for that responsibility.

Therefore, it is both stupid and irresponsible to reduce voting rights to 16 years, and to allow children to play a role as opinion makers towards politicians. It is not fair to the child, and it is not fair against the political debate. Children should of course be able to be asked in matters that concern them, and may be involved in decisions, but individual children should not be asked against adults in political matters, because they do not have the same responsibility over the decisions taken.

Many young people build their political commitment in late teens. It is good for the democratic future and it deserves respect. But before you grow up you should also have the time and space to test ideas and opinions that you do not have to be asked for as an adult.

It is the responsibility of the adult world to ensure that space exists, but at the same time you can not put young people into political debates at the same time, or give the 16-year-old's mandate in political decisions. In the best case, 15-year-old readers can highlight important questions. In the worst case, the public talks are dammed to suit the level of children, and prosecutors who have to prioritize economics and shared resources are risked to be misjudged if they make children disappointed. It is not possible to criticize children and young people who do not need to take responsibility in the same way that adults can be answered in response, and that's really a good thing. Children should be children until they are official.

The democracy investigation that came a couple of years ago suggested just reduced voting age, and politicians from several parties have repeatedly wanted to introduce attempts at municipal elections. But voting rights are power, and election results lead to consequences that adult people must be able to take responsibility for. Swedish democracy needs more people who can take responsibility, for the country, for our common resources and for future decisions. Because it requires adults who can say no when needed, and sometimes even make children disappointed.

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