Editorial: U.S. Voting Age Should Be 16

Dan Hogan, Reporter

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At the age of 16, people in this country are legally allowed to drive, obtain a passport, donate blood, get married, register as an organ donor, work full-time, etc. 16 year olds can do all these things but still cannot vote. 

The United States voting age should be lowered to 16 years old.

Changing the voting age to 16 would help to solve the problem of low voter turnout in elections. According to Fair Vote, the voter turnout rate for presidential elections since 1918 is a staggering range of 50 to 65 percent. If we allow people under 18 to vote, this can greatly increase as it has in Chicago, Maryland, and Austria, according to the Chicago Tribune, Promote Our Vote, and Taylor and Francis Online

If someone votes in one election, they are more likely to keep voting in future elections. Lowering the voting age will create new voters who are usually familiar with their community as they have likely been living in the same place most of their lives. This helps with voter turnout because the 16 and 17 year olds have strong thoughts about what they want their community to look like.

Recently, there have been nation-wide youth movements taking place from the March For Our Lives to youth climate change protests. Young people are ignored far too often but equally deserve a voice because issues like gun violence and climate change affect younger generations as much as anyone. They deserve to have a say in what we do regarding these issues. Since young people are not allowed to vote, it allows politicians to totally ignore what they have to say because they cannot hold their representatives accountable. 

The National Youth Rights Association said, “The words spoken before the Senate Judiciary Committee supporting lowering the voting age in 1971 are as true then as they are now: ‘The anachronistic voting-age limitation tends to alienate them from systematic political processes… Lowering the voting age will provide them with a direct, constructive, and democratic channel for making their views felt and for giving them a responsible stake in the future of the nation.’” 

If you believe the United States voting age should be lowered to 16 years old, get involved with and donate to Vote 16 USA and National Youth Right Association. Also, find out who your government representatives are and contact them. Inform them of the benefits and reasons to lowering the voting age to 16. It is time for another youth revolution.