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Too young to vote?

Should Young Numismatist members of the American Numismatic Association ages 13-17 be able to vote in ANA elections?

That seems to be the most contentious issue in this year’s contest.

With the budget balanced and litigation ended, it is not surprising that a new issue would come to the fore.

The major item of business for the board at its meeting at the National Money Show in Sacramento March 18 was review of the draft bylaws that will be published in the July issue of The Numismatist and then will be up for adoption at the World’s Fair of Money meeting in August in Chicago.

Current bylaws allow the approximately 850 YN’s to vote in elections and that right will not change this year. Total ANA membership is roughly 28,000.

The right to vote will be taken away for those ages 13-17 if the new bylaws are adopted and the voting age is set at 18.

Board members were closely split on the issue.

YN’s maintain that they are smart enough and interested enough to vote in the elections, perhaps even more so than some adults as the usual low participation shows.

Nobody disputes that position.

The ANA board members who support the age of 18 base it solely on law. Minors are not able to sign contracts and are not otherwise of legal age and the right to vote in ANA elections should be based on conformity to societal norms. They say there is even the possibility that parents could sign up all their children and then cast their votes for them under the present bylaws.

Would that happen? Who knows?

In the 33 years I have been a member, I have never heard such allegations.

In favor of voting rights for 13-17 YN’s were Scott Rottinghaus, Wendell Wolka, Walter Ostromecki and Tom Hallenbeck.

Opposed to YN 13-17 voting were Jeff Garrett, Joe Boling, J.P. Martin, Alan Herbert and the tie breaking vote cast by President Clifford Mishler.

Such a close vote means that the campaign could change the outcome.

Which side are you on?

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4 Responses to Too young to vote?

  1. I must agree with the majority on the ANA Board on this matter. Most if not all numismatic organizations allow only those 18 years and older the right to vote in elections. For example, in the Illinois Numismatic Association (ILNA), only Regular (18 and over), Club, Club Life, and Life members can vote. YN’s cannot vote as per bylaws of ILNA. YN’s, though being dues paying members, may not have the maturity to decide on who would best represent them or their interests. This, however, does not mean that they can’t get involved. On the contrary, they should, as long as there is a candidate who would best represent their interests. And that is my 2 cents worth.

  2. Michael David says:

    Let them vote…I see this as a way to limit accountability and not a way to be more "legal". Has anyone asked what has changed that makes now different from the past three plus decades? It’s a shame that organizational integrity has fallen so far…

  3. John Murphy says:

    Being a child of the 60’s, I guess its the rebel in me, but I say let them vote. We do not seem to have any problems taking their dues, or their money when they purchase coins. we charge them admission to shows (when applicable). whatever decisions are made within the ANA affects them as members doesn’t it? We keep saying we want to get these young members more involved. We want someone in the hobby when we 60, 70 and 80 somethings pass on to that great coin store in the heavens. Get them involved young and keep them involved, and the best way is to give them a say in the association they have joined and hopefully love and care for as much as we do.

  4. Tom Snyder says:

    I have found that young people involved in coin collecting and dealing are far and away more mature than their non-collecting peers. I tried to join the ANA in 1959 when I was 16 only to have
    my father’s check returned with the message to apply again when I am 18. I did join the ANA some 30 years later. The young members who are not interested enough to vote won’t bother, so I would agree to allow all interested members the vote. The ANA could even nurture a young Bowers or Ganz personality.

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