While current Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan’s lead in Armenia’s presidential elections are not surprising, a local blogger raises concerns about children’s indirect participation in the elections.

Voting 006

Photo: © Onnik Krikorian / Oneworld Multimedia 2008

Onnik Krikorian, a Yerevan-based British journalist, writes at his blog on the elections:

It’s now nearly two in the morning and it’s been a tiring day. However, while report after report of violations and falsification comes in, in the seven polling stations I visited today in the Kentron and Arabkir districts of the city, voting was pretty much calm. That’s not to say that violations didn’t occur elsewhere, or even that all was perfect in these particular polling stations, but rather that the environment for voting was peaceful.

Probably the worst violation I saw, although I’m not sure it goes against the electoral code or not, was a number of mothers allowing their children to vote for them.


While to many – children’s participation in the election in the form of dropping the ballot to the box may sound a violation, I find that participation to be one of the few good things about elections in Armenia.

And that’s not just because when I was a child I (successfully) convinced my Mom to let me drop her ballot in Armenia’s elections.  It is because kids find it interesting and fun to participate in what they perceive a decision making.

Voting 114

Photo: © Onnik Krikorian / Oneworld Multimedia 2008

Actually, I have not seen good arguments against why kids shouldn’t vote. My sister, whose 5-year-old gets angry when she is told she can’t vote, says that her kid changes her mind on the candidates quite often and explains her choice by the candidate’s looks or talks. So the “childish” decision-making doesn’t reflect critical thinking and educated determination some say.

Well, people don’t always – if not most of the time – vote based on much thinking. In Armenia, for instance, one often votes for a candidate because of hating the other candidate due to their regional origin (“I am voting for Levon because Serzh is from Karabakh,” vice verse). Or if they anticipate something for their family (like some of my relatives who would gain power if Levon’s regime returned).

But see, my niece doesn’t make decisions because she hates someone or she will get a government job.

Anyhow, I know that the western ideological hierarchical mindset and its legal framework won’t allow kids to vote in national elections but there must be some kind of autonomy and mock elections that will get young people used to voting.

Field trips, for instance, could be decided in schools through a democratic vote with several options to choose from. Armenia’s schools lack student governments. Well, the university student governments have not been a huge success (usually, exclusively male-dominated and openly partisan) but it doesn’t mean younger kids shouldn’t have the right to some kind of decision-making.

And these are not ‘western’ ideas. Kids often vote in indigenous societies.