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To choose and to be chosen

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The right to vote for candidates and the right to run as one are arguably the two primary sides of our civic participation coin in the United States.

Yet, while the voting age in the United States is 18, many candidacy laws have an age significantly higher. A question worth exploring further - If an 18 year old can be entrusted with the right to choose who they want to hold political office, why is the same age group deemed automatically unqualified to serve in said position? It isn’t totally dissimilar in some ways from various state laws that disallow a convicted felon from being able to vote but don’t prohibit them from serving in public office, over the course of history leading to several situations where an individual was a candidate in an election but was not allowed to cast a vote for themselves. Many argue that we allow young people to serve in positions of incredible responsibility and leadership in the military at age 18, so why not public elected office?

Is there a prejudice against young people built into the system? Considering that the average age of a House of Representatives member is 57 and the average age of a Senator is 63, it’s certainly possible, and worth further inquiry.

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"But in our time, as in every time, the impossible is the least that one can demand..." - James Baldwin