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June 6, 2014

Hannahville Constitutional Amendment: Voting Rights; Making the Case for the 18 year old

by leroywandahsega
The Right to Vote at 18 years old

There are many reasons this segment of our population should be afforded the right to vote under the Constitution and By Laws of the Hannahville Indian Community.
The obvious reasons are:
  • They are legally considered adults
  • They are old enough to enlist in the military. With the possibility of great personal expense, up to sacrificing their lives to preserve that right as voting citizens of The United States of America
  • They are held accountable by the Tribal Court for violations of Tribal Law
  • Those with children are held accountable as parents

The following are more reasons to consider amending our constitution to give them the right to vote:

  1. Promotes a greater sense of community spirit
  2. Creates an environment of self-awareness and individual importance
  3. Promotes empowerment reducing the sense of oppression
  4. Promotes early involvement in tribal government; creating awareness of community issues
  5. Allows young people to be represented in the Adult population
  6. Creates awareness on how their vote can influence law and policy
  7. Creates awareness of the legal, social and business (financial) issues and how each are affects their lives
  8. Promotes the Federal Governments Self-Governance Policy
The young adults in our community are not being properly represented in Tribal Government and should be entitled to a right to of representation. By not allowing the younger adults the right to vote we promote a separation of the people in our community. Although it may not be intentional it creates at atmosphere of oppression. By allowing this act of oppressive behavior, the tribal government, not by intent, fosters some of the very issues it attempts to combat; such as alcoholism, violence, drug abuse and suicide.
I believe that by allowing 18-20 year old adults the right to vote will increase their chances of success in this journey called life. 
I believe allowing 18-20 year old adults the right to vote promotes an atmosphere of trust and cooperation.
I believe allowing 18-20 year old adults the right to vote gives that portion of the population a greater sense of importance and shows them their voice is valued among the rest of the adults.
I believe in the youth of this community.
Values and principles change; nothing stays the same in any community. But those who are governed should have a voice in what values and principles they will live by and have a vote in the matter. If we do not include these young adults in the processes of government, they will never understand the standards of which a society expects them to live by. 
We must trust our young adults and give them the right to vote and be heard. We need to trust them as people and not exclude them from a process that is designed to protect all tribal members interest. We must trust them with the responsibility of being involved in the process of setting rules and guidance for our social survival as an Tribe.
I believe the right to vote is one of the greatest responsibilities we can bestow upon the young adults in our community.
Our young have clean spirits let us not dampen that spirit, early in adulthood, by excluding them from their own governmental processes by denying them the right to vote, and to be represented so their voices can be heard.
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