Max Steinbeis has a post at Comparative Constitutions (a blog well worth reading if you're into constitutional theory and international law) where he analyzes a proposed new constitution for Hungary. There's a lot more detail than I can get into here, but I wanted to focus on one specific part of the constitution that he describes.
A peculiarity of the draft is its provision of the possibility of an additional vote for families with children. (This is still controversial even in the ranks of Orbáns coalition and therefore might be dropped before the adoption.) That digression of one man, one vote is very problematic, particularly since it might also serve Orbáns electoral interests. The idea is not to give the parents a vote for each child, though, but to give the mother to a second vote, regardless of the number of children. That probably serves to assuage the resentments of many Hungarians against the Roma minority with their alledgedly large families.
There's little theoretical justification for providing one additional vote to a woman whether she has one child or twenty. However, a similar idea – giving parents/guardians a vote for each of their children in a certain age range – is very interesting. When compared to what countries typically do (pretend that children don't exist during elections), a parents-vote-for-children measure enunciates two distinct views of the role of children in society.
- The usual system, where children simply have no say in government, can be justified only by supposing that children are not truly citizens, but are instead some class of justly-oppressed subjects of authority.
- A system where parents vote on behalf of their children, on the other hand, would declare that children are indeed citizens with a right to a say in government, but that they are simply not yet capable of exercising that right for themselves, so it is held in regency by their guardians.
As a matter of theory, I'm inclined towards the second one. However, I would need to be convinced from a practical standpoint that parents are the proper individuals to supervise a child's franchise. What do you think? Should children be viewed as disenfranchised subjects or immature citizens?