Miranda Rosenberg is 15 years old and has recently filed her 2002 income tax return. She worked part-time last year while maintaining a 4.0 grade point average at Suncoast High School in Riviera Beach, Florida. Paying income taxes is more than just an annual obligation to Ms. Rosenberg; she sees this event as an opportunity to change the law.
Ms. Rosenberg has launched an attempt to amend the Florida constitution to drop the voting age in Florida to 16, claiming that 16-year-olds who work have to pay taxes and thus should have the right to participate in the process of electing those lawmakers who decide how the tax money is spent. "Paying taxes and not being allowed to vote is tantamount to taxation without representation," said Ms. Rosenberg.
To get the measure on the ballot, signatures are needed from a total of 499,722 Florida registered voters, representing 8% of the number of voters who participated in the 2000 election. So far Ms. Rosenberg has collected about 1,000 signatures.
The student contends that 16-year-olds are just as capable as older citizens of making informed voting decisions and that younger members of society already have significant responsibilities. "At 16 you can get a driver's license in Florida, which is probably a lot more dangerous than voting," she said in a recent speech before the Broward County Democrats.
Florida voters who want to sign the petition may do so by downloading a copy of the petition at Ms. Rosenberg's Web site, www.voteat16.com.