Tomorrow is election day in Los Angeles County and throughout the state and the predicted voter turnout is 36 percent of registered voters. In 1998, voter turnout was something like 35 percent and it was about the same four years before that. That's low by any standard, but if you consider the total population of the county and how many residents can't vote because they're not citizens and those who either couldn't or didn't register to vote, the percentage of the population voting is abysmally low, less than 17 percent of the population, by my reckoning.
And, the people who vote more than anyone are senior citizens. Because they have the time to or because they are easy targets for television commercials. So if you take out the senior citizens, the percentage of people who might be around in 20 years to live with the effects of whatever environmental disaster the latest brood of politicians dreams up -- that percentage of the the population of Los Angeles County showing up to vote is about 10 percent.
For all those reasons, I say lower the voting age to 16. If you can drive a car and potentially cause uncalculable damage to yourself or someone else, you should be able to vote. It's about the same thing anyway.
In New York City in the early 1900s, they recognized street gangs and turned them into political clubs. That was the time of Tammany Hall when political careers were created by going after the immigrant vote.
As Tammany Hall politician and New York Mayor Al Smith said, "The only cure for the evils of democracy is more democracy."
Now we recognize street gangs enough to bring court injunctions against them but that's about it. Actually, anybody who happens to be on U.S. soil should be able to vote, but that's probably an argument for another day.