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Should Children Have the Right to Vote? Readers Say "No Way"

Readers wrote in to criticize a proposed German law that would grant German citizens under the age of 18 the right to vote in national elections. The law wound allow parents to vote for their children.

Children at a computer

"Merkel oder Beck"

The following comments reflect the views of DW-WORLD.DE readers. Not all reader comments have been published. DW-WORLD.DE reserves the right to edit for length and appropriateness of content.

I first did not trust my eyes when I read: Preschoolers have as much right to make their political opinions heard as adults, according to your "bipartisan group." And a group of parliamentarians propose a law that would allow parents to vote for their children? And Germany is really thinking about giving children the right to vote? I cannot believe this. I have been living in Canada for most of my life. And I have been proud to retain my German citizenship. If this law goes through, I will no longer be proud of my country. I could comment further on why children should not vote, but this idea is too ludicrous to give more time to. -- Doris Barrett , Canada

This is absolutely the dumbest idea to come out of a supposedly intelligent country yet. The only thing you will accomplish is large numbers of people with no political understanding casting votes for their favorite TV personality. I can just see my nephew's ten and 12 year olds voting in a major election. Does anyone believe that they won't be voting for Mom and Dad's favorite candidate? Let's get real here folks. I admit that we adults have not always made the best choices (President Bush for example) but at least the voters could hopefully read and write. How many four and five year olds can say that? This is just one more idiotic idea to make the general public feel like they have a big role to play in German politics. This is an idea that has come, and hopefully gone, very quickly. -- Dale Peck , US

Give children the right to vote? Is Germany so hard up to get enough votes together to form a decent government? I must be turning senile. I can no longer understand the social structures of other countries anymore! -- Helmut J.Kauth , Canada

So under this proposal, a father of five would have six votes. I could agree as long as the children are guaranteed the right to work and pay taxes, own property, drive motor vehicles, serve in the army and be able to travel on holiday without the encumbrance of "adults." Where has the solid common sense gone that is the hallmark of the German people? I often relate to my experiences living in Germany when some crazy scheme is put forth here. But now I see my confidence is misplaced. When I was a child I thought as a child and spoke as a child, but now I am grown. -- Richard Blaine , US

In a word, this is insane. It simply gives parents two votes in an election and thus undermines the concept of "one person, one vote." No child has the cognitive ability to discern complex political issues. -- Rob , US

At it simplest, this is a party political tactic to obtain an electoral advantage. More importantly however, apart from whether or not a child, as defined in law, is capable of making democratic choices which will affect the lives of adults, it will also give the state a great deal more power over the child than the parent of the child has now by right. This idea is a very dangerous development. -- Charles Smyth , Great Britain

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