Should The Voting Age Be Lower?

The run down on why 16 year olds should be able to vote

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Should The Voting Age Be Lower?

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Elizabeth Hahn, Staff Writer

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Sixteen-year-olds are mature enough to drive and work, both things that require heavy decision-making and independence, so they should be able to vote.

Recently, there has been a debate about moving the voting age from 18 to 16 years old. Lincoln senator, Anna Wishart wants to propose a constitutional amendment to put this into action. According to KETV, she believes that sixteen-year-olds are informed and “fully capable” of taking the responsibility of voting. It is unknown if this will be put into action yet.

Many 16-year-olds would agree with Sen. Wishart.

Honestly, teens at this age could vote in elections effectively. Some people of this age group are politically active and would take the opportunity to vote in a heartbeat. Sixteen-year-olds would actually change elections for the better. Critics of this proposal believe people in this age group aren’t mature enough to vote and aren’t interested in politics. That is just not the case at all.

Voting in elections requires research of nearby politicians and deciding who holds the same values as the voter. This process is not really that difficult. A quick search of someone’s zip code and the word “candidates” gives multiple links to lists of candidates for the House and Senate in their area. Everyone is raised with certain values, usually stemming from parents. There is almost always a candidate that holds the same morals as the voter. Values and opinions on certain types of legislation can help one determine who is the ideal candidate for them. Some people are afraid of voting. Knowing how easy it is to find information on candidates would make people of this age group feel more capable of picking a candidate that will benefit them

This is not a question of maturity.

Many people of the older generation think that teenagers are extremely immature and can’t make good decisions for themselves. As previously stated, people at this age can drive and get a job. Both of those things require a person to be very mature and make their own decisions effectively. Basically, driving and a job are the stepping stones to becoming an adult. Sixteen-year-olds do both of those things almost daily, so obviously they aren’t the overly immature teens that older people make them out to be. Voting isn’t any different. With this maturity derived out of life experiences as well as responsibilities, like driving and work, 16-year-olds can use the decision-making skills they’ve learned to make a choice on a candidate that stands for everything they stand for.

Also, many of the critics of this proposal are more on the Republican side of politics. This younger generation is more Democratic and open-minded. Republicans of the older generations see the voting age being lowered as a threat. Voting in more Republican legislators would be harder with 16-year-old voters. However, it’s very possible that many people of this age group are Republican, as well. Letting 16-year-olds vote might benefit the Democratic party more, but both parties would likely obtain more voters for their party.

The other argument of teens not being interested in politics might be true for some people, but there are many people my age that know about politics and would take the opportunity to vote, if it were given to them. All over social media, there are kids around 16 advocating for political change. For example, the Never Again movement for restrictions on guns was started by people around my age. At just eight years old, Mari Copeny wrote a letter to Barack Obama about the Flint water crisis. These are just a few examples of young people who are politically active. There are surely many other young people who want to be involved.

Also, voting at an earlier age could spark more interest in politics for young people. So many celebrities are pushing for people to register to vote on social media. Certainly, 16-year-olds are seeing these posts. If they could vote, many of them would after seeing all their idols encouraging them to.

Many people of this age have jobs, and things like minimum wage are decided by legislators and presidents that are elected. Having a say in politics would give teens the ability to elect leaders that will benefit them and their needs. That is another thing that could persuade teens to participate in politics.

Juniors and seniors are usually required to take American History and Government classes that teach them about how the government and politics work. Teachers talk about the electoral college, the branches of government, and voting.It’s very likely that at this age, 16-year-olds will know how the government works enough to participate in the polls. Being informed on government processes is very important, and it could make a 16-year-old want to be involved in the process.

It might be an unpopular opinion, but 16-year-olds voting gives the younger population a voice in politics. Maturity is not a problem. People of this age think for themselves. All it takes is a little research to find a proper candidate that fits one’s necessities. Numerous 16-year-olds would be interested in making political decisions. So many people are posting about the importance of voting. These posts have likely made some 16-year-olds want to go to the polls to vote in a candidate that holds their morals. Sadly, they’re not old enough, yet. Making an amendment that allows sixteen-year-olds to participate in voting would please teens who want to be able to elect officials that will make this country a better place. This should happen, and hopefully it does.


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