Should minors be allowed to vote? I've heard it growing up all my life that minors don't know what they're talking about and how they should be patient and wait until they reach 18 to vote. As of today, in 2021, the urge to let minors vote has risen to unexpected proportions to the point where it should be seriously considered. If the 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds are the future of our country and we view them as the next important generation, they should, no they need the right to voice their opinion about political candidates and have the right to vote.
The youth vote (ages 18-29) has always been the one age group that always seems to disappoint. In the 2020 presidential election, however, it rose to 50% (Circle.tuffs.edu 2021) , an 11% increase from the 2016 presidential elections (39%) (Census.gov, 2021). In some states, such as California and Nevada, young first-time voters headed to the polls in a greater percentage than returning voters. However, the young vote was still the lowest among all the other age ranges, with the highest age range of 65 to 74-year-olds to show up and vote more with a rate of 76.0% (Census.Gov,2021). If the youth is our next generation and we want to build a brighter future, then we should allow 16-year-olds at minimum to vote. It'll raise the younger vote to a point where it surpasses every other voting group and blows them out of the water.
Charles Allen, who is part of the Democratic party and a councilman for the Council of the District of Columbia in Washington DC, has been urging 16-year-olds to have the right to vote and has been a big supporter of young voter rights. In an interview with PBS, Allen had the following to say "I think that young people have a stake in election outcomes. At age 16, your relationship with the law changes dramatically, from being able to drive on city streets to having a job and paying taxes."
"There are a lot of 16- and 17-year-olds that also walk around every day with adult responsibilities. Not only are they having jobs, they’re a part of helping run a family. Some of them may even have kids of their own. When you think about what those responsibilities are, why shouldn’t they have a voice in helping shape that?” Allen said quite passionately. (Grabenstein Pbs.org).
There are also benefits if we allow 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds to vote. One example is that it can increase voter turnout for generations to come. With more and more people voting, it'll turn voting into a habit that can continue for future generations. When a 16-year-old starts a pattern, it has been shown that it'll last longer than an 18-year-old starting a habit.
Another example is that young people are not new to voting, considering that they participate in student government. It gives them insight into how student government works, which can translate into the real world, preparing them for it.
Circling back to how certain officials in government feel about the desire to let minors vote is an exciting topic—Ayanna Soyini Pressley, who is serving as the U.S. Representative for Massachusetts's 7th congressional district, supports lowering the voting age. "A sixteen-year-old in 2021 possesses a wisdom and a maturity that comes from 2021 challenges, 2021 hardships, and 2021 threats. Now is the time for us to demonstrate the courage that matches the challenges of the modern-day sixteen- and seventeen-year-old." Pressley said. If our leaders are pushing for the voting age to change, then how come it hasn't happened (Foxnews.USA).
At the end of the day, it is crucial for the United States to consider lowering the voting age and the entire world need to discuss and review this. The more times, the younger generations are denied rights, the more and more the system will remain the same. So give them a shot to vote, let them cast their ballots and vote for whoever they want to vote. If the kids are our future, they should have a say on who they want in office. It's their world, after all too.
Grabenstein, Hannah. “Should 16-Year-Olds Be Allowed to Vote?” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 20 Apr. 2018, https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/should-16-year-olds-be-allowed-to-vote.
“Half of Youth Voted in 2020, an 11-Point Increase from 2016.” Circle at Tufts, 29 Apr. 2021, https://circle.tufts.edu/latest-research/half-youth-voted-2020-11-point-increase-2016.
Bureau, US Census. “2020 Presidential Election Voting and Registration Tables Now Available.” Census.gov, 8 Oct. 2021, https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2021/2020-presidential-election-voting-and-registration-tables-now-available.html.
“4 Reasons for Lowering the US Voting Age to 16.” Vote16 USA, 3 Mar. 2020, https://vote16usa.org/reasons-for-lowing-voting-age-16/.
“Student Government in High School & College.” Accredited Schools Online, 15 Apr. 2021, https://www.accreditedschoolsonline.org/resources/student-government/.
Fordham, Evie. “Majority of House Democrats Vote in Favor of Lowering Voting Age to 16.” Fox News, FOX News Network, 3 Mar. 2021, https://www.foxnews.com/politics/house-democrats-hr-1-lower-voting-age-16.