Back when the founding fathers were drafting what became The Constitution of our nation, they made sure that not just anyone could be elected to public office in the brand-new United States of America.

Included were provisions on citizenship and residency for the U.S. Congress and Presidency. To be considered for office, congressional candidates must have been a citizen for at least seven years (U.S. House of Representatives) or nine years (U.S. Senate) and maintain a residency in the state they wish to represent. A Presidential candidate is required to be a natural-born citizen and be a resident of the United States for at least fourteen years.

The Constitution also included some very specific language about age. A minimum of 25 years old for the U.S. House, 30 years old for the U.S. Senate, and 35 years old for the Presidency.

But the founding fathers never addressed a maximum age for seeking office.

Now keep in mind, when The Constitution was ratified in 1788, the average age expectancy in America was 57 years old, which was the exact age of George Washington, who was inaugurated as our first President a year later.

236 years later, things have changed quite a bit on the age front. The average life expectancy in America is now nearly 80 years old and we have been electing older and older candidates to office on a regular basis.

Since 1981, when Ronald Reagan became the oldest President to take office (15 days shy of his 70th birthday on inauguration day), we have elected three more candidates who were older than 60; the last two (Donald Trump and Joe Biden) were in their 70's.

As we rapidly approach the 2024 election, there has been a lot of discussion about the ages of the two presumed candidates - Trump turns 78 on June 14th and Biden will be 82 on November 20th.

While there is no official movement underway to impose a maximum age for seeking office, there are some very strong opinions on the issue.

A recent KARE 11/MPR News/Star Tribune Poll in Minnesota found that more than half of those surveyed (52%) believed that both Trump and Biden were too old to run for office.


In North Dakota this week they took things a step further.

Voters in the Peace Garden State overwhelmingly supported a ban on candidates being elected or appointed to the state's congress if they would turn 81 by the end of the year before their term expired.

More than 68,000 (61%) of the nearly 112,000 ballots cast agreed with the proposed age limit. The vote is believed to be the first of its kind in the country and will face some potential legal challenges before it officially becomes law, especially since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1995 that states 'cannot impose additional restrictions, such as term limits, on its representatives in the federal government beyond those provided by the Constitution.'

Has the time come to address the maximum age issue?

Head to our Facebook page and let us know what you think.

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