GOP presidential candidate says those under 25 should serve or take a civics test to vote

 May 11, 2023

It has been over half a century since the 26th Amendment bestowed 18-year-old American citizens a constitutional right to vote.

Yet in a move that may come as a shock to some, one Republican candidate recently said that needs to change. 

Plan calls for those under 25 to serve or pass a civics test in order to vote

According to Fox News, businessman and GOP presidential contender Vivek Ramaswamy made his case for raising the voting age while on a campaign bus in Iowa.

"We’re going to be talking about this to a large audience of actually young people in Iowa," Ramaswamy said. "Gov. Kim Reynolds is going to be there tomorrow."

Under Ramaswamy's plan, those between the ages of 18 and 25 could obtain the right to vote by either joining the military, serving as a first responder, or passing "the same civics test an immigrant has to pass in order to become a naturalized citizen who can vote in this country."

Ramaswamy suggested that such a move would help "to restore civic duty in the mindset of the next generation of Americans."

Lower voting age was originally linked to military draft

He also pointed to how part of the rationale for lowering the voting age revolved around the fact that 18-year-olds were eligible to be drafted.

Ramaswamy noted that the 26th Amendment was passed in 1971 and that one "of the arguments for that was that if you're going to have a draft, military draft, that brings 18-year-olds in, then they ought to have the right to vote."

He maintained that "tying the voting age back then to the age that you could be drafted in the military says that there's a deep and this is a long-standing tradition in our country, tying civic duties to the privileges of citizenship."

What's more, Ramaswamy was quick to dismiss any allegations that his civic knowledge test is in any way similar to Jim Crow-era voter suppression tactics.

Same civics test applies to immigrants

"We literally require people to pass that test to vote today," he said. "If you're an immigrant, I'd say the same thing applies if you're an 18-year-old who graduates from high school who wants to vote."

"But you don't have to do it that way," he stressed. "You could also do it by doing a minimal amount of service to the country."

"Whether you're the kid of a billionaire in the Upper East Side of Manhattan or whether you're the daughter of a single mother in the inner city, it doesn't matter," Ramaswamy pointed out.

You have the same requirements to be part of the special group of people at a young age who get to participate in deciding who governs the country. And I think that restores a sense of civic equality and a sense of civic duty that we have long missed in our country," he concluded.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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