Dürfen wir Kindern das Wahlrecht vorenthalten?

Archiv für Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie 95 (2):252-273 (2009)
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Abstract

Up to a certain age, young people are denied the right to vote. In this paper, it is argued that this general exclusion from democratic participation is unjustified and should be abandoned. After a short survey of some of the pedagogic, legal, and political arguments that have been brought forward to support a liberalisation of electoral law in favour of children, the essay presents a basic moral argument against any age limit with respect to voting rights. First of all, it is argued that the right to vote is grounded in a fundamental claim of human beings to equal participation and, therefore, can be denied only for severe and cogent reasons. Subsequently, the essay purports to establish – and defends against objections – that there are no such reasons that sufficiently justify an age limit. The paper concludes with some remarks on practical consequences of the argument.

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Benjamin Kiesewetter
Bielefeld University

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