Age of Majority / Voting Age in the Federation

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by datalogan, May 3, 2012.

  1. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 28, 2009
    The glorious Shetland Isles!
    The UFP is a democracy. Every planet would vote for its own leadership and for its representatives in the Federation Council. Then after all that was done, everyone of voting age would also need to vote of the President. To me, that's the most straight forward system.

    Every planet would have their own rules for elections, including the legal age to vote. This would depend on what age each species felt that its citizens were responsible and mature enough to make the decision on who to vote for. As I said in the previous thread, that would be completely different for long-lived species (such as the Rhaandarite) that it is for Humans.

    On Earth, I think that the voting age would be 16 by the time of TNG. But again, that's just my thoughts.
  2. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

    Mar 2, 2002
    Montgomery County, State of Maryland
    Agreed -- though, as we both noted in the previous thread, the hard part isn't letting, say, Rhaandar and Earth set their own laws or when a Rhaandarite and a Human reach the age of majority. The hard part is, what do you do with Rhaandarites who live on Earth and Humans who live on Rhaandar?
  3. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 28, 2009
    The glorious Shetland Isles!
    Hmm. An answer for that might be that whilst many planets might have many different species, the voting age would be based on one's species rather than on where one lived.

    So even if a human decided to move to Rhaandar and become a citizen of that planet, under their laws and rules, seeing as it's unlikely they would ever reach 150 (what is the Rhaandarite age of adulthood), then they would be permitted to vote by whatever age humans were.

    It would be a tricky thing to sort out, as species ventured out into space, joined the Federation and had new people deciding to settle on their world, as their legal system would need an overhaul and several new amendments. Though I think that if the voting age would be based on species, rather than planet.
  4. Alocin

    Alocin Ensign Newbie

    Oct 31, 2011
    There are several issues here so I shall address each in-turn.

    1. Maturity - almost certainly varies dramatically depending on the species. There is a 3-part fanfic series about Seven of Nine that posited that she, although she was very obviously chronologically older than the standard 18 years old that most countries on Earth treated as being an adult, but that the Mulari goddess decided that because of her life experiences she was still a teenager and therefore not considered an adult. I suspect it wouldn't just matter about age or species but with individuals. In this case, it's perfectly possible that this might be the same with the age of consent as an example. Certainly what is clear is that the criterion a person must meet to qualify will certainly have been the same or very similar indeed.

    2. The Nature of the Federation’s Democracy itself

    a. The Make-up of the Federation - how are we to know that the Federation isn't something like the UN? We elect Member Parliaments and the Head of Government for the Member State may well nominate an individual and the Parliament confirms that candidate and sends them to San Francisco. Out of that group you have the Federation's Legislature and then the Federation Council might well be the Security Council, with the big members, Earth, Vulcan, Andoria serving on a permanent basis and a few others with rotating members joining on a non-permanent basis. The Legislature might well do the electing for the President or there might well be an electoral college system. It certainly seems a very a-partisan environment.

    b. Partisanship - The issue of partisanship has been mentioned in above posts, as well as, arguably demonstrated in 'A Journey to Babel'. Had their been a lot of political parties getting together into voting blocs, wouldn't one have been willing to hand Kirk over to the Klingons in the aftermath of the Genesis incident in-order to preserve the peace? To sacrifice one rogue commander for galactic peace might not seem too bad to some politicians. Perhaps Roddenberry might have been looking to the initial phase of the American Republic, before the existence of Jefferson and Madison's Democratic-Republican party, the period between the end of the Revolutionary War and the First Party System. George Washington's second Presidential term was very rancorous, not through his fault, but the Federalist and Democratic-Republican movements were really trying to take shape. Perhaps there might be more of an Expansionist, pro-Starfleet as the Military grouping with the Andorians in the lead and a Domestic, Peace-party grouping, with say the Vulcan presence at the core. Quite possibly there is a strong, central-government versus limited Member-focused government debate, which is basically what the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans where so passionately debating about in-reality. Does the Council just focus on Foreign Policy, Foreign Trade, Defence, the ways to fund these and Constitutional matters?

    c. The Role of the President - I would expect, based on the way that we have seen the President thus far, as an office under-siege. Is the President a strong figure? A President in the American sense of the term? Is not the Federation too big for that? Perhaps what we should look at it as a combination of the role of Commander-in-Chief, Chief Diplomat, Managing Director of the Federation Government, protector of the Constitution and perhaps President of the Council as well. In this case is the President of the Twelve Colonies on Battlestar Galactica not a more considered definition? It is clear that much of BSG comes out of Ron Moore’s thoughts about and criticisms of Star Trek, quite possibly rooted just as deeply in the final months of his personal Trek, his personally difficult time aboard Voyager. Laura Roslin is the only President we see in any detail and her acts and circumstances are in no way typical, she is terrifically expansionist about her powers, she’s making things up as she goes along and probably, although never expressly said to be, her own Minister of Defence. She’s a Churchill or a Roosevelt, not a Woodrow Wilson. But we can assume that the office itself, which is confirmed in her balancing act with the Quorum, a body she uses when convenient.

    d. Participation - the other issue of course actual participation. A contented culture tends not to vote, this is borne out in voter turnout analysis. It doesn’t matter the manner you vote in, although it’s guaranteed to be completely technological in the Federation. I suspect that the concerns that normally lead cultures to vote in droves, the financial instabilities, austerity measures, tax hikes etc, don’t appear to apply. It would also be difficult to vote if you were in Starfleet. I suspect that you would probably vote at a local or provincial level or possibly at a Member planet-level, but I’m not convinced that you necessarily would feel a great deal of need to vote in an election for a President? How do you mount a campaign on that scale? How do you make people feel connected to the leadership on Earth? If Obama, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan, the great recent communicators in the White House have to/had to really work hard to communicate and reach out and seem relevant. I don’t think you can on this kind of scale. I might be wrong, but the Federation seems to be a culture that is comfortable with the culture of professional public servants, you can make it into that if you want to, but there isn’t necessarily the traditional American commitment to local public office and perhaps too comfortable with Starfleet, who should be the experts, having a considerable influence about the state’s priorities. It takes something extreme for people to shake themselves out of this trend i.e. how Human colonists naively allowed themselves to be handed to the Cardassians and then started fighting back when their stupidity became obvious, or probably after the Dominion War when foreign policy and Starfleet’s struggles to defend the Federation despite what is probably an enormous portion of the central budget. But you have to shake the tree to get people interested rather than merely observant.

    I could of course be completely wrong....
  5. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Aug 26, 2003
    Just a minor nitpick: these two events appear to have been completely separate, and concerned different groups of people.

    Only a single colony volunteered to become Cardassian in TNG "Journey's End", at a time when the concept of the Demilitarized Zone had not yet been proposed - and this colony, Dorvan V, was never heard to participate in the anti-Cardassian activities later on. All the Maquis worlds appeared to be under formal UFP jurisdiction, although within the DMZ where all sorts of weapons were forbidden.

    FWIW, there was no mention of the citizens of Dorvan V having a vote on anything in "Journey's End".

    Timo Saloniemi