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Too Young to Vote?
March 21, 2011

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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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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