Feb 3, 17 / Pis 06, 01 15:34 UTC

Re: Age of Majority  

It's the basic flaw with democracy, either you hope the populace is well informed about the voting topic, or you try to manage ignorance with means testing. Most discussions don't get further than that due to the worries about means tests (see historical black voting-rights issues in the US), and that it runs contrary to modern definitions of democracy; everyone gets a vote.

It wouldn't be hard to create means tests, say bring in three independent teams to build a questionnaire aimed at basic understanding, and have them work it out. Removing corruption will always be an issue though, and gerrymandering via this process would be valuable to politicians.

Feb 3, 17 / Pis 06, 01 18:03 UTC

Means tests in practice are democratically approved processes for selectively denying people the right to vote on an individual basis. If it's not hard to devise such a test that does not run contrary to modern definitions of justice, equal protection and equal application specifically, then by all means answer my three questions using a specific example question. Of course, it's easy if we just implement a test without worrying whether it accomplishes anything except reducing the total number of eligible voters.

Feb 4, 17 / Pis 07, 01 13:47 UTC

As I stated, yes, means tests are historically used to deny voting rights (black voting rights US). The example I gave as a potential way of devising a test that could reasonably guarantee a level of competency in a given topic : odd number of independent teams, qualified in the requested subject.

I see the main problem less that the test would be badly applicable (ie. bad for testing competency), and more that the teams could be corrupted to say, make the test harder than needed to cut out the less educated, or those with less access to research material (as I stated in my last paragraph).

Open sourcing the discussion might help increase faith in the process, as would voting for the teams that make the tests.

Spitballing here: To apply the test equally to all citizens, build the questions into the voting card and have it completed at the voting booth. Have a machine read them before who/whatever the vote is for is determined.

This probably means making the test multiple choice, among other logistical problems.

Feb 4, 17 / Pis 07, 01 16:12 UTC

I think I am being unclear.

The issue is that any such questions are of an inherently subjective nature. You can't give potential voters a straight math test. There are no objectively right or wrong answers, but someone has to decide that there is a right or wrong answer and, if the answer given is subjectively wrong, someone else has had a right automatically removed without due process.

You have to write a question like, "With a disposable income of $300 per month, how large of a personal loan can you afford at 22% APR and 60 months repayment terms without risking default due to temporary loss of employment or emergency expenses that can reasonably be expected based on your individual risk factors?" I would expect this to be very controversial if I were formally suggesting it as a voting means test question. I would expect every question we could propose to be very controversial. Talking in generalities sidelines the problem, because of course you can make a means test sound reasonable if you're not worried about how it will be specifically executed. The devil is in the details with these kinds of issues and that's why means tests have proven unpopular historically.

The way most countries have handled people who should not be voting due to competency reasons has been court orders for adults and arbitrary age limits for children.

Feb 6, 17 / Pis 09, 01 00:56 UTC

I'm assuming tests would be generated on a more fine-grain basis.

Say for example, in the UK, there was a lot of complaining that the public was misled over exiting of the European union, due to misinformation published in the media and stated by politicians. Constructing a test to guarantee basic competency wouldn't ostensibly be overly difficult. Eg. EU lawmaking contributes [HTML_REMOVED]50% of UK laws, or; Immigration from outside the EU will be at least partially reduced by exiting the EU yes/no.

Such questions, perhaps better written or in legalese, would weed out people voting based off inaccuracies/mistruths, and I'd say that was a fair objective.

I don't disagree that such tests could be written to be overly exclusive, rather that with enough oversight, and specific or objective questions, those worries could be reduced to a manageable level.

As a more theoretical answer to your loan example, were the vote targeting some niche finance aspect, would it not be prudent to restrict voters to those that actually understand the effects of such changes? The alternative is requesting the opinions of people who do not understand the topic for which they are voting. If you simply meant such a question might be used in general, unrelated to finance, to restrict voting rights, I would agree.

Feb 14, 17 / Pis 17, 01 17:57 UTC

Ahh, lots of new posts since my last post.

I concur with all the concerns regarding questions and testing methods that may disenfranchise. The point here is not to exclude but to empower. I highlight only civics and critical thinking as essential core areas because I believe that any Majority Test should not rely on any specialist or domain-specific knowledge. Everyone should know everything they need to "pass" such a test by the time they have completed compulsory education, without any additional preparation.

Maybe "test" is the wrong word. It could be a compulsory assessment based on portfolio/coursework that is completed over the course of compulsory education.

Citizens who understand their rights and how society works are going to be more engaged and active. Civics is to verify understanding of things such as: * Role of the government and how it operates * Your rights and responsibilities - Exercising your rights, understanding your responsibilities.

Critical thinking is important so that our citizens are able to analyse information and make informed decisions. We could use existing psychometric and critical thinking tests, including for example: * Numerical reasoning: Ability to comprehend charts and graphs, to recognise if they are misleading * Verbal reasoning: Read a passage of text and based only on its contents answer multiple-choice questions by selecting the most appropriate answer

Age of majority versus age of criminal responsibility has been mentioned. One benefit of a Majority Assessment is to ensure that before anyone is in a position to enter into a legal contract, they are able to fully understand what they are getting into. I would say that criminal responsibility is related to the age of majority but it starts with whether the accused understands the difference between right and wrong, and then the rest is up to the lawyers and lawmakers.

Feb 14, 17 / Pis 17, 01 19:55 UTC

Under the 10th Amendment who is responsible for conducting elections?

  1. The Federal Election Commission
  2. Each state's Elections Department
  3. Each County's Elections Bureau
  4. The Federal Election Committee

Now we have a (US specific) civics question with one definitively wrong answer and four that can be marked wrong. The always wrong answer is designed to lead takers to identify another wrong answer as the correct one. This is a trick question of a kind that is typical for these kinds of tests when they have been implemented in practice. Even when implemented in good faith, this is how electoral tests are used to disenfranchise people based on subjective assessments. Similar examples for critical thinking, numerical reasoning, and verbal reasoning can be generated.

I am wary of tests to determine whether someone is a moral degenerate or not. Morality can not be quantified. I do not think it is prudent for a state to try and then grant or deny rights and privileges based on the apparent results.

  Last edited by:  Michael Hoselton (Asgardian)  on Feb 14, 17 / Pis 17, 01 19:57 UTC, Total number of edits: 1 time

Mar 21, 17 / Ari 24, 01 11:14 UTC

Must be defined by their ability to take actions and decisions or mostly by their inability to do so.

Everyone must be granted the same rights regardless of their age, gender, race or religions.

However, the age of majority from where we are residing must be respected in order to legitimate our actions without interference in any country law.

Mar 31, 17 / Tau 06, 01 15:15 UTC


It is rather naive and dangerous to say: "votes of more qualified and educated people are worth more."

The question is: Should the Age of Majority (i.e. Adult) be determined by some sort of qualifying assessment? Or, should an arbitrary age be defined?

I submit that this age be determined not by biological age, but by an assessment to ensure one understands the full breadth of their rights and responsibilities as a Citizen of Asgardia. However, i would suggest that the earliest biological age one could be assessed is after 14 Earth years. From that point onward, would that Citizen be fully beholden to the laws of Asgardia.

  Last edited by:  Richie Bartlett (Asgardian)  on Mar 31, 17 / Tau 06, 01 15:16 UTC, Total number of edits: 3 times
Reason: fixed formatting

May 12, 17 / Gem 20, 01 19:29 UTC

The Argument for a Fixed Age of Majority as Opposed to Sociological Test of Maturity

When considering the legal age of majority, there is a debate between the concept of a static age and maturity tests. I think there are very good reasons for choosing a static age. The primary reason is that a definitive time frame is given for planning. The second reason is that a specific age provides protection to minors. The third reason is more an argument against maturity tests.

Regardless of the age decided upon by a culture, having a static age of majority gives a minor, and indirectly her/his guardians, a reliable time-frame within which to plan the transition process from child to adult. Having age milestones in a culture allow us to gauge maturity, intellectual capacity, physical development, sociological adjustment, and many other aspects of growth. This is one of the most difficult transitions in life and having a set point when that transition is complete has proven to be beneficial to individuals and society at large.

A very important aspect of static ages of majority in a society is the protection it brings to minors, especially in relation to adults who would abuse thier power and knowledge to manipulate others less mature or experienced than themselves. In situations where minors are coerced into financial, sexual, or emotional situations they aren't mature enough to handle, a static age of maturity protects them by law and unwritten social contracts. Without these protections we would expose children to harm which is easily avoidable.

The last reason for a static age of maturity actually is in concern of the nature of maturity tests. Any test based on objective facts is an easy to administer and easy to grade test. Any maturity test would not only be subjective, but also decides whether the individual taking it has access to the basic rights of a society. That is a problematic mix. We have disagreements on who would design the test, who would judge results, and what do we do with those who are unable to pass even well into what is currently considered adulthood. Most importantly, it is this question of who decides what determines maturity that concerns me. There is too much potential for maladjusted people to deny rights to others through corruption of the process.

Despite the fact that there may be people who are denied options that they are mature enough to handle and these same options are provided to people who may never be ready to handle them, having a static age of majority has benefits that outweigh this inconvenience. Having a reliable time-frame for planning the transition to adulthood and the protections provided against predators are strong enough reasons to advise patience to those who are mature enough, but not old enough, to be adults. And, if they don't have the patience to wait, maybe they don't have the maturity after all.

May 15, 17 / Gem 23, 01 23:12 UTC

I think by the time people are 13 or 14 years old because by then they know what they want to vote. Otherwise the voting age could be by the kids responsibility, have them take some sort of test to see how responsible they are and if they are responsible then they can vote, and they have the choice to vote if they are responsible enough.

Jun 15, 17 / Can 26, 01 16:58 UTC

My opinion is that we are looking at this issue backwards. We are putting the burden upon the voter instead of on the campaigners. The UK Brexit examples being mentioned are proof of this to me. Why is it on the voter to be forced to parse lies and unattainable promises? The campaigners need to be held liable for any misinformation they might transmit as a means of influencing the voting outcome in their favor.

One example is implying that money diverted through a change in tax law would go to a different popular service than it did before. Well, you can't say that unless it's specifically part of the proposed legislation. Right now, most democracies, such as they are, will allow that kind of statement from prominent figures and simply allow for rebuttals and the voter's own research to find the "truth". I feel that this is a loophole that removes responsibility from the politician and places it on the voter. 

I believe there is a balance to be struck between opinions on how a law or candidate might affect citizens and the State and willful misdirection in order to "sell" people on one's own agenda.

The voter often has their own life to live and their own concerns to deal with so they won't necessarily have the time or resources to inform themselves and parse the fact from fiction. While I certainly agree that a voter has the duty to maintain a certain level of competence and awareness as part of their responsibility as a voter and a citizen, we need to update how we understand voting in the real world. We're dealing with issues, policies, facts and figures which are a lot more complicated than what they've been in decades and centuries past. Bias, misinformation and manipulation are vectors of failure in human democracy. We need to look at all angles possible to figure out how to move forward.

Having said that, I feel there should be a general citizenship test for voting capabilities. It should be basic and not based on political views, just some basic civics, history (in our case, world history) and so on, not unlike the test used in the US for those applying for citizenship. Most US-born citizens can't pass that test!

Otherwise, based on the premise that the human brain generally doesn't mature until about 25, and as a former young person, I think 25 is a good age if we have to make a cut-off in that manner. 

Whatever is decided on voting, though, we shouldn't allow people unable to vote to be conscripted into any form of governmental service, military or otherwise. It's not fair to expect someone to be an agent for the State if they are unable to have a say in the workings of that State.

Jun 16, 17 / Can 27, 01 19:40 UTC

I agree that a balance does need to be struck between the voter and the state in terms of who can be eligable to vote. But at the same time, I think what everyone here has really been getting at discussing a system of checks and balances that would be capable of holding stead-fast in the face of corruption, but would still be flexible enough to allow for maturity variations on an individual basis.

In my own opinion, I think the question shouldn't be: "At what age should the people be eligable to vote". but instead "How can we ensure that the people are being informed on: 

A) Their [voting] rights as a citizen. 

B) Their eligibility to not only vote in an election, but to also run for office (among other things). 

C) How to protect both the voter and the office from abuses of both corruption and power.

Imho, I'm not convinced that there's any one correct answer, but if I were to make a decision, then I would make it multi-tiered. For anyone blow the age of, say, 15, I would require both a written questionarre on general civics, as well as an oral exam by a psychologist. After that, I would also limit them to voting in local elections.

For someone up to the age of 20 or so, I'd require the oral exam, but also recommend the they take the questionnaire as well, just so that they have a better understanding of the process.

For those above the age of 20 whom have never voted before, I would make the requirements the same as though they were under 20, but also make it a requirement that they do so before a specific cut-off date, such as 60-days prior to the election date.

Thats just my two cents, and as I said, I don't think that there's really any one correct meathod that should be used. Most certainly, there's a bunch of more effective ways that work, but are also completely dependent on the local culture.

Jul 5, 17 / Leo 18, 01 11:56 UTC

I think if someone is old enough to have a job, own a house, drive a car, get married, be a parent, then they are old enough to vote.

If each voter needs to be tested by a team of experts to see if they are fit to vote, we'll never get to an election.  Do we want to spend so much time and money getting the perfect set of voters or do we want to spend that time and money on more useful things?  If we test too much it seems that only people with the 'correct opinion' will be allowed to vote.

On a related issue why are there so many different age restrictions on standing for various posts in the country?  If I am not in the correct age bracket to be the leader then I am obviously not in the correct age bracket to choose that leader!

Chapter 3, Article 8, 3 of the constitution states that: 'Persons, who acquire space citizenship at birth, can exercise rights and shall perform all obligations on reaching full legal age at 18.'  If a person has all the obligations, then they should have all the rights too.  If at age 18 people are full citizens with all obligations then surely they should have the right to vote and stand for all positions that they are qualified for.  I don't think picking ages out of thin air for various posts is right.  Each person is different.  Some retain all mental faculties till the day they die.  Some have mental illness all their lives.  Once we've picked an age determining when people are independent adults we should use that for everything.  Simple rules are much better than rules with lots of loopholes and exceptions.  It won't be perfect, but it will work fine and we can get on with other stuff!

Jul 7, 17 / Leo 20, 01 08:47 UTC

It may not feel concerning at the moment however when the younger groups respond to important matters then there will be a huge difference in the discussion. If we are to give them the benefit of the doubt then i agree testing should be done to make sure they have the maturity. We would need to set boundaries such as no voting and staying in their own community. Communication is already lacking between the languages and Teens unfortunately would  rely on Google translate to get their point across. This may cause some problems... However later on, when this is carefully thought through, I purpose we do allow children to take higher end classes through Asgardia. This would help mold them in their interests and perhaps when the national language is established it should be mandatory that all Asgardians including children take a course. There are good points and bad points from a mother's point of view but all valid toward this thread.