Should You be Able to Vote at 16?

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We have been seeing it constantly in the news. “Go vote!” For all people under the age of 18 that is not an option. Should 16 year olds be able to vote?

For many countries around the world, 18 is the minimum voting age. But what about the countries whose voting age is lower? Brazil, Cuba, and Austria are a few countries whose minimum voting age is 16. Did you know that in three cities in Maryland, 16 year olds can already vote in local elections? Read on to hear both sides of the argument.

Representative Alan Lowenthal from California said, “Some American cities already allow young people to vote in municipal elections, as do several nations, including Austria, Germany, and the United Kingdom.  Additionally, research shows that when young people can vote it boosts civic participation for those individuals and their families. I believe our democracy is stronger when we empower as many Americans as possible to make their voices heard.”

Most 16 year olds already have a lot of responsibilities. They can get jobs, drive their car, and pay taxes. Shouldn’t they get a chance to vote? People opposing the voting age of 16 say that at this age you are not mature enough. Teens can be impulsive and that should not be reflected in our elections. Adults also claim that 16 year olds do not have enough life experience to be voting for our government leaders. They believe that when you are 18, you are officially an adult and with that age comes the responsibility of voting rights. At 16, teens depend on their parents and are still required to attend school. Another argument against lowering the voting age is that at age 16, the brain is not developed enough whereas at 18, the brain has grown significantly more.

Lots of young people have voiced their opinions on the voting age. Teens should be able to vote on laws that affect them. If so many of the laws for education get voted on by adults then why shouldn’t teens have a say? The Center for Information and Research on Learning and Engagement said that only 31% of eligible voters aged 18-29 voted in the 2018 midterm elections. Allowing 16 year olds to vote would increase voter participation. That way you can make voting a habit. A study shows that when people vote at the minimum age in their first election, they are more likely to continue to vote throughout their lives. Lots of young people are engaging in activism all over the United States. All these protests and rallies concerning our government show that the youth is ready to vote!

Speaker Nancy Pelosi says, “I myself have always been for lowering the voting age to 16. I think it’s really important to capture kids when they’re in high school when they’re interested in all of this when they’re learning about the government to be able to vote. That — that is not necessary — you know, in other words, some of the priorities in this bill are about transparency and openness and accessibility and the rest, that’s a subject of debate. But my view is that I would welcome that.”

In conclusion I believe that lowering the voting age to 16 would greatly benefit the people of the United States. The youth have such powerful voices and through voting at 16 they can bring their opinions to the table.