Ohio businessman and 2024 presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy is touting a plan he says will spark patriotism in young voters. Ramaswamy is proposing a “Civic Duty Voting” Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
“The United States faces a 25 percent recruitment deficit in the military, and just 16 percent of Gen Z say they’re proud to be American. The absence of national pride is a serious threat to our Republic’s survival,” Ramaswamy wrote on his website.
Under the plan, which he calls “Civic Duty Voting,” 18- to 25-year-olds would be allowed to vote if they served at least six months in the military or as a first responder—police officer, firefighter, EMT, etc.—or passed the same citizenship test that immigrants must pass in the naturalization process.
Persons 25 or older would be eligible to vote without these requirements.
Ramaswamy’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment by press time.
On his website, Ramaswamy says that only 23 percent of people between 18 and 25 vote. Setting requirements for voting will make the act a “coveted privilege,” the website reads. This would ensure that young voters take voting more seriously.
“Voter participation among young people may actually increase,” the website reads.
Ramaswamy claims his plan would cost nothing since all the compliance mechanisms are already in place. In addition, the conditions would apply to all people evenly.
“A kid of a billionaire can’t vote if he misses the requirement while a kid of a single mother in the inner city can still be part of the special group that determines who governs our nation,” according to the website.
This past April, the 37-year-old candidate told the National Rifle Association’s Leadership Forum in Indianapolis that American society has deteriorated. He said his generation and younger people are becoming more cynical and less patriotic. According to Ramaswamy, the younger generation wants what humans have always wanted—something to live for.
Hungry for a Cause
“I think it’s true about all of us of every age, actually. We are lost. We are hungry for a cause,” Ramaswamy told the crowd in Indianapolis.
“You ask someone my age, ‘What does it mean to be an American?’ You get a blank stare.”
Ramaswamy acknowledges that the plan would require a Constitutional amendment, which could be a tall order. But he said the fact that it is difficult to amend the Constitution means there will be debate and discussion. And, he says, there is a benefit in the process because of that.
“The high hurdle is a good thing: the process of debating the merits of a proposed Amendment will itself catalyze a long overdue conversation about not only reviving civic pride among young Americans, but what it even means to be a citizen today,” the campaign website reads.