A 16-Year-Old Child does not have the Personal Experience to Influence the Future of the Country
- Adolescence , Child , Experience , Personal , Personal Experience , Voting
How it works
Have you ever wanted to do something but couldn’t? Well, that’s how most 16 and 17-year-olds feel. In 1776, when the United States was formed, only certain people got to vote. These people were white men who were over 21 and owned land. Nearly a century later, the U.S. a 15th amendment was added. This amendment eliminated racial barriers, but some states didn’t like this and continued to discriminate against people. In 1920, women nationwide got the ability to vote. This was able to happen because of the 19th amendment. By 1971, the voting age was lowered to 18 because of the 26th amendment (History of Voting in America). The voting age should be lowered to 16 for several reasons – they are mature, it will increase voter turnout and develops voting habits, and it will have an effect on their future.
First of all, if sixteen-year-olds can drive and get a job then they are mature enough to vote. At this age, they can drive and work for the first time. It can also help them get used to feel more like an adult. Most people say it’s a matter of fairness (FairVote.org). People say that because people can’t vote until they’re 18 but some people still have to wait to vote for certain stuff. People who are for lowering voting age makes this fairness argument as well (FairVote.org). In today’s society, 16-year-olds receive great legal responsibilities. Some of these responsibilities include driving, working, and helping their family making ends meet (Austermuhle and Goldgeier). According to Austermuhle and Goldgeier, “They pay taxes… And yet, they can’t exercise their voice where it matters most — at the ballot box.” This is important because it shows that 16-year-olds can be responsible enough to help pay taxes. If they can pay taxes then they should be mature enough to vote. In Washington D.C., they already allow 16-year-olds to pre-register to vote. 17-year-olds are also allowed to vote and in elections, they can cast ballots. With D.C. allowing this, they are on par with three jurisdictions in Maryland because of Allen’s bill. The three jurisdictions include Takoma Park, Hyattsville, and Greenbelt. At these three areas, 16-year-olds can participate in local elections, and D.C. is the first place to similarly lower the voting age (Austermuhle and Goldgeier).
How it works
Along being mature enough, 16-year-olds will increase voter turnout while developing voting habits. When people vote for the first time, they will most likely go to the next election and vote again. By lowering the age to vote, it will encourage younger people to vote. People under 18-years-old usually have a strong connection with the community they are living in, especially if they lived there for years (Mandel). This is important because it will help in local elections because they recognize and are more aware of local issues. Getting voters to start off young will help make voter turnout go up as they get older (Mandel). They can also influence their parents to vote if they don’t usually vote. In a study done by the Kids Voting program, people under 18-years-old casted votes in a mock election. The parents of the kids who took part in this mock election were more likely to vote in an actual election (Mandel). Research shows that when people are of age to participate in an election, they will more likely to vote in later elections. Years after being able to vote, voter turnout drops for many years (Dahlagaard). For people who move out of their parents’ homes, they will likely stop voting for a while also. So, if more young people start to vote young, 16 and 17-years-old, and still live at home, they will more likely to establish a lifelong voting habit. They will also pass this voting habit to their parents (Dahlgaard).
Lastly, they can have a say in what will affect their future. 16 and 17-year-olds are affected by political issues as much as anyone else. They can work and pay taxes on their incomes, drive, and in most cases, being tried in adult courts. They deserve voting right because they have to deal with issues on a local level (5 Reasons for Lowering the US Voting Age to 16). Letting 16-year-olds vote can be used to influence the government to do what’s best. This would mean politicians have to listen to concerns 16-year-olds have (5 Reasons for Lowering the US Voting Age to 16). Teens can be more engaged in politics and have more concerns for their future, but they have no way to be heard. Most critics say when teens vote they have no pressure but it’s the exact opposite (McLaughlin). 16-year-olds can start to work while attending school. They are the future and have a different perspective that should be heard (McLaughlin).
While on the other side, people think 16-year-olds are not mature enough to vote. For both state and federal elections, the minimum voting age is 18 because of the 26th Amendment. Voting is already decided and doesn’t need to change just like the lines dividing people from their childhood to adulthood (Cheng). Voting age was lowered to 18-years-old so it would match with the minimum age to be drafted. A majority think it’s a waste of time to keep raising and lowering the age to vote (Cheng).
Another reason is 16-year-olds don’t know anything about politics. 16-year-olds are not informed enough and can’t make important decisions for the country. However, there are some 16-year-olds that are informed but the average 16-year-old is not (Schell-Olsen). Only about 36% of all American adults can name all branches of the government. Most of these adults graduated from high school and knowing all of these 16-year-olds shouldn’t vote if they are receiving the same education (Schell-Olsen). 16-year-olds can be influenced easily and can vote for something that they shouldn’t have. In the current education system, students usually learn things more from personal experience and less from books and textbooks (Tracinski). Considering this, people who dish out theory will be able to influence 16-year-olds. So, if 16-year-olds are able to vote the will more likely support for teachers’ unions. Political indoctrination is already bad know but if schools are able to influence 16-year-olds it will tip the election results (Tracinski). Once young people start getting older they don’t gain more knowledge of history, but more personal experience. They see the different politicians come and go, get more perspective, and have more run-ins with salesmen (Tracinski). So above all, once they get older, they will gain more life experience in areas where they wouldn’t have known at 18-years-old (Tracinski).
In conclusion, lowering the voting age is a good idea because sixteen-year-olds are mature enough, it will increase voter turnout and develops voting habits, and it has an effect on their future. 16-year-olds have responsibility the more we give to them, and they also have to keep up during school and possible work. They should know what’s best for them since they are the new generation and have more knowledge about what’s going on in today’s society. Some people don’t see it this way and think 16-year-olds don’t do anything except being easily influenced. Other people think they it’s a waste of time lowering the age. Even though there are negatives letting sixteen-year-olds vote such as not being mature enough and not knowing anything about how politics works, they can still learn from their mistakes. Even though most sixteen-year-olds don’t know what they are doing they still have the option to not vote.