If kids voted...

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: April 09, 2019

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Submitted: April 09, 2019

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I have no idea if any other countries do this, but a youth organization Allianssi holds mock elections, allowing kids aged 7 to 17 to "vote". It's held at many secondary schools, high schools and vocational colleges, but a small part of  elementary schools also take part in it. The idea is very simple: kids can vote at their school and then the organization goes through the votes. It's an easy way to teach kids how to actually vote, and it's supposed to show the people what kids think their government or president or whatever should be like.

The mock election results in Finland came in yesterday. About 63 000 people voted, which was 48% of all the school kids who could've done so. Usually, the elections aren't very popular, unless your teacher makes you go there and vote. However, 63 000 kids is quite a lot, and tells something. The most popular party, who got 17.1% of the votes, was the Green Party. That's not very surprising, since they speak a lot about climate change and the future that these kids should have. From what I've talked with my friends, to all of us one of the top three criteria we want in a possible candidate, is that they're ready to do something about climate change. In second came the National Coalition Party, which was in the previous government, and the True Finns, both at 14.5% of the votes. I was a little suprised by that, because usually kids are very open about things like immigration, and the True Finns are... I don't want to say they're racist, but then I would be lying so. They are more popular with older people, and usually youngsters see them as a negative party. 

I think the elections are a great thing, in a sense, as it teaches kids how the process for different elections works. It's something different, and it gives adults some idea about what their kids might think. There are several problems though, that make the mock elections not reliable. FIrst of all, kids, especially the young ones, don't really know what different parties usually stand for, so they can't really base their decision on things like adults do. A ten-year-old doesn't think about what's the most humane and cost effective way to take care of senior citizens or whether we should join Nato or not. They most likely vote for the person they know; either politicians they have seen on the news or people that they might personally know that are running. They also might just ask who their friends are voting, and base it on that. And holy shit, the funniest thing is that since everyone aged 7 to 17 knows what a 69 is, three people running with the number 69, got elected. Kids base their votes on things like that, and that's normal. They're kids, after all.

A lot of people talk about the voting age being lowered to 16, even here. I know many adults who think that would be a good idea, but I have personally heard that no kid stands for it. Yes, if the voting age was 16, it would bring variety to elections and also give the teenagers a possibility to be heard. That's not the biggest issue, and maybe in some elections it could work, like the city elections, as cities and towns play a big role in teenagers' lives. But that would also mean people would have to lower the running age, and that's kind of not that smart. Eighteen is an age you're considered to be an adult at, and can run in elections as well. Nothing would have stopped me from running in these elections. I could run for the EU Parliament in a month, but obviously I'm not going to. I could run for the president in five years because I am eighteen, or actually 23 at the time, but that's not the point. 16 is a little too young to run in elections. Technically, if you've finished school, then you could, but not many 16-year-old know enough about politics to do much. Even 18-year-olds don't.

It's important to hear what kids think about what's going on in the world, because they will inherit it. It's up to us adults to listen and think about life from their point of views as well. That's why organizing mock elections for kids is good, but thank god they are not actually in charge.


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