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Ellison: 16-Year-Olds Should Have Right to Vote

The congressman's challengers also joined in the debate.

Rep. Keith Ellison last week suggested that 16-year-olds should have the right to vote.

“Why shouldn’t 16-year-old vote?” Ellison tweeted on Jan. 11. “They can drive. Some have jobs. Let’s empower our youth.”

Ellison's comments set off a lively, multi-day debate on Twitter, with several people criticizing the congressman by asking questions such as “Why not let them drink beer?” and suggesting 16-year-olds weren't informed enough to vote. One tweeter said he worried the teens would base their votes on their parents’ opinions and not their own.

“Oh come on! 16-year-olds are pretty sharp,” Ellison wrote in response. “When is last time you talked to teens? They have their own views on things." He also wrote, "I kicked it w(ith) bunch of kids yesterday, today. All were very smart (and) informed.”

Even Ellison challenger jumped into the fray, repeating a Newt Gingrich talking point.

“More would have jobs if they were allowed to clean the schools they attend,” Fields tweeted. “Oh, wait. That would take away union jobs.”

Torgerson’s PAC

Lynne Torgerson, one of Ellison’s other Republican challengers, urged a Political Action Committee, called No Compromise, to support her run for Congress. However, the site linked to in her announcement appears to be a social networking site for conservatives, and not an actual political action committee. A PAC and a “SuperPac” by the same name show up in Federal Election Commission filings as registered in Texas, and unaffiliated with any party. However, FEC records show that No Compromise has neither received donations nor disbursed any money as of its most recent filing.

MLK Day

Ellison appeared today on Minnesota Public Radio's Midday program for a discussion of race and religion to mark Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

No Sharia Law

On Thursday, Ellison issued a statement praising a federal court decision to strike down a 2010 Oklahoma ballot initiative to ban Sharia law in that state.

“The Islamophobic campaign against the so-called ‘threat’ of Sharia law in America has always been a solution in search of a problem.” Ellison said. “No court, state legislature, city council, or municipality has tried to supplant U.S. law with Sharia law. Rather, this is a campaign by a fringe group of political opportunists trying to stoke divisions and fear.”

Ralph January 17, 2012 at 02:28 PM
And I see it now... Keith would be in every High School in the state, stumping for the party. Everyone knows kids this age, are largely liberal, until they get their 1st pay check, or start having kids of their own. Why can they be on their parents health care plan, until they are 26 years old? I think Elison is looking to broaden the democratic base. Simple as that!
James Sanna January 17, 2012 at 03:06 PM
@Patrick Bowman - Your comment has been deleted because it violates Patch Terms of Use (see the link at the bottom of each page), which prohibit comments or other user-generated content that "is defamatory, abusive, obscene, profane or offensive."
Peter D. January 17, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Plain and simple Ellison has lost my vote. His priorities are misguided. While 16 year olds may be smart. I cannot agree they should vote. They still have restricted drivers licenses for a reason, they cannot get married without parental permission for a reason, they cannot have a credit card for a reason, they are not considered adults for a reason, and they can't vote for a reason. Ellison needs to get his priorities in line with the people he represents.
Will Bildsten January 17, 2012 at 04:12 PM
First of all, I must tell you something: I am 16-years-old. Now, that may make it seem like I'd support the right of people my age to vote, but it's quite the opposite. A majority of 16-years-old that I know believe what their parents believe, and that would mean whichever political party has the most kids wins. Most 16-year-olds aren't mature enough to think independently from their peers, which makes them unsuitable to vote. 16-year-olds deserve the right to be politically involved, but the right to vote should be saved for independent adults, not youth who often only worry about drugs, sex, and alcohol.
Ron Stoffel January 19, 2012 at 10:26 PM
No, only adults should be voting. If they are not old enough to hold office they should not be voting!!!! RUN THE CONSTITUTION Rep. Ellison!!!!!!!

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