Monday, March 12, 2018

Driving the voting age to 16

By: Sydney Sayre
When you turn 16, you go with your parent to the DMV and get your license. Driving requires some type of responsibility, and you receive that privilege on your 16th birthday. What if you were able to vote at that age too?

It is widely debated that the voting age be lowered from 18 to 16 years old. In 1971, the voting age was lowered from 21 to 18. This sparked debate when young men that were not allowed to vote had to fight for their country, which resulted in the change.

Just because teenagers can drive at 16, are they responsible enough to vote for major decisions? When regarding the age to drink, many argue that the brain is not fully formed by 18 and that teenagers aren’t mature enough to vote. However, when looking at it from a different angle, voting isn’t potentially impairing judgement like alcohol can.

Laurence Steinberg said, “Studies have shown that the skills necessary to make informed decisions are firmly in place by 16.”

Many teenagers have the responsibilities of adults, such as having a job to help pay for bills or helping run a family business. Those who are under 18 are expected to follow laws made by the adults. According to The Marshall Project, most teenagers at the age of 16 and 17 that commit crime are tried as adults in court. If the court sees them as adults, why can’t the state?

Teenagers learn about politics in high school, especially in their last two years. They are more involved in politics and are beginning to participate. Florida students started a protest after the shooting that took place at a Florida school. They are protesting gun violence and have organized a nationwide protest.

Not only are they participating, but young people make good voters, and it has been proven around the world in countries who have a lower voting age. Scotland is one of the nine countries that has a low voting age, and the turnout rate is higher for young voters than older voters.

Twenty-one states allow 17 year olds to vote if they turn 18 on or before the election date. Most states, however, hold to the 18 year old requirement for their state and local elections. This is more of a state-by-state law than a federal.

        So, as a young person, if you had the right to vote at age 16, would you?



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