End One Man / One Vote; Shift to Age-Weighted Voting

One man /one vote is the ultimate sacred cow. But who has not had secret thoughts questioning the idea that everyone’s vote should get equal weight? Is everyone really equally qualified to pick our leaders?

Instead, America should implement age weighted voting to make voting more objective and fair, and give the young more power, because the consequences of political decisions will affect them the longest. Age weighted voting would restore power to twenty and thirty year olds, where it resided before the advent of medical science. With the aid of computers, it would be easy to give everyone a Voting Score, just like we all have a credit score.


The first weighing factor could be Political Understanding. This could be administered as part of the Census every ten years. To keep it simple, instead of an individual score, voters could be assigned the average score for their age group. An individual score might give certain ethnic groups inordinate influence. Recent studies show that political understanding changes with age as shown in the graphic below.

The next factor would be an inverse of average voting rates. It is a well-known fact that older voters vote more frequently, so this factor would compensate for the apathy of youth. For example, each vote by a twenty year old would count as 20 votes (in a primary of course) to compensate for the fact that only 5% of twenty year olds vote in primaries (where most political decisions are actually made). Different factors would be applied to general elections.

Compensating for voter participation, one man / one vote would be adjusted by the weighting factors shown below:

The final weighting factor would relate to ‘Living With The Consequences’. Young people have to live with the consequences of political decisions much longer than older people. Older people often vote for policies that are short-sighted and cause long-term economic hardship — for example, oversized pensions and lavish medical entitlements that increase the national debt or wars that are fought by the young. They are more likely to support policies that are repressive and out of touch with social developments. This factor would adjust for The Consequences.

Putting all the factors together, the new weighted vote by age group that would replace one man / one vote is shown below.


It is true that this scheme would take the right to vote away from 80 year-olds (kinda like taking away their driver’s license) and actually penalize candidates who get votes from 90 and 100 year olds.  But then again haven’t these folks beaten the odds and outlived all their friends and they shouldn’t be voting anyway.