Editorial: Voting Age Should be Changed

Maeve Reiter, Reporter

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Education, gun control, climate laws. All of these topics in politics today deal heavily with the younger generation. But teenagers have no say in the future of their country because they cannot vote.

The voting age should be lowered to sixteen.

In politics and everyday society, there are many problems that affect the youth in America. According to an article from the National Youth Rights Association, a civil rights organization to defend the rights of the youth in America, “There are certain issues, such as environmental degradation, public education policy, long-term government debt, corporal punishment laws, and poverty that impact young people more than anyone else.” 

Gun control laws would impact future school shootings. Climate laws and restrictions could shape the future of the entire Earth, and the youth of today are eventually going to be the ones inhabiting and leading the world of tomorrow.

The next few years will be crucial to the future of the United States, and those who will be around the longest to see things put in place do not have a say in anything because of their inability to vote.

According to an article from The Hill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “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 government, to be able to vote.”

In high school, students learn about the government and current events nearly every day. They are indirectly involved with civics and directly affected by political topics such as education, yet they cannot do anything about it until they have graduated. 

Other countries have already permitted 16 and 17 year olds to vote. An article from the Washington Post says, “Several countries have had at least some experience with lowering the voting age. Austria has for about a decade allowed 16-year-olds to vote in most countrywide elections. Scotland allowed 16-year-olds to vote in the 2014 independence referendum and has since extended this to elections for the Scottish Parliament.” 

These countries have experienced positive results by lowering the voting age. The article says, “Research from the Austrian and Scottish experiences suggest that 16- and 17-year-olds are as engaged and interested in politics and make voting decisions as well as older voters.” Younger voters that are about to step into the real world and the workforce are as directly affected by current events as older generations and are engaged as much as them. Giving the younger demographic a chance to vote would allow for greater participation in the democracy of the country, just like those in Austria and Scotland.

Lowering the voting age would be beneficial to the American youth. To alert the government about this issue, sign a petition on this crucial topic that could change the course of America’s future.