A debate that has seemed to become more popular in the past couple of years is the voting age n the United States, and whether it should be lowered to 16. Many teenagers across the nation have reached out and tried to bigot to help get the subject some attention and get those in the political world talking. Many others, mostly adults, are astonished and appalled at this idea, and don’t seem to take them or the uproar towards the debate seriously.
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I have discovered three articles from a number of different kinds of sources on this debate.
To keep it interesting, I included articles that were opposed as well as proponents lowering the voting age. These articles are called ‘Top Ten Reasons for Lowering the Voting Age,’ ‘Don’t Drop the Voting Age,’ and ‘Maintain Our Voting Standards. ‘ The first article, called the ‘Top Ten Reasons for Lowering the Voting Age’ was written by the National Youth Rights Association. It held some very strong, solid arguments and reasons for convincing its audience of their claim to lower the voting age to 16.
It was surprising how many reasons they gave to support their views and content that they included common opposing arguments. The author also included evidence and reasoning to derail these common viewpoints on the matter. Logos was one of the most prevalent appeals used in this article, they tried to remain very logical so that their arguments were more sound and harder to prove wrong. One of the most common arguments used against lowering the voting age is that teenagers are not mature, responsible, or intelligent enough.
They managed to shed some light on this common viewpoint when they proclaimed that,”Voting Rights Act of 1965 states that: ‘any person who has not been adjudged an incompetent and who has completed the sixth grade in any State or territory, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico where instruction is carried on predominantly in the English language, possesses sufficient literacy, comprehension, and intelligence to vote in any election. ‘
If a Sixth grade education is deemed adequate knowledge to vote, how can older youth be denied the right to vote? They managed to bring a refreshing new point to the table, with almost a slight sarcastic undertone. As the new idea begins to sink in, it is easy to agree with them, if a sixth grade education is the requirement to vote, then it is logical that sixteen year olds should be allowed to vote. They also continue on with using logical appeals, with a sensible point against the same subject, “The fact is, intelligence or maturity is not the basis upon which the right to vote is granted, if that were the case all voters would need to pass a test before voting.
Youth shouldn’t be held to a stricter standard than adults; lower the voting age. ” This statement is pretty straightforward and speaks for itself, although youth and adults are treated differently in other senses, on the subject of voting, if it is not based solely on maturity and intelligence, then what claims do the opposers have to stop the possibility of lowering the voting age? It keeps to the logical sense, and clearly undermines the common uncertainties toward the debate at hand.
If you think about what the author is trying to convey and what goal they are trying to reach, it is a national association trying to help get the voting age lowered, they didn’t use much ethos throughout their article, but it wasn’t really necessary for them to help reach this goal of rethinking the legal voting age. Their main appeal was logos, and that alone for them was powerful and convincing enough, because they remained pretty unbiased throughout the article and therefore remained purely logical and factual, which is easy to convince an audience as long as they understand it.
They were just trying to get the facts out there and explain why they feel the age should be lowered. They definitely have knowledge on the subject, and they definitely know what they’re talking about. An example of where they used ethos to help their claim is when they quote a college professor, ” A 1996 survey by Bruce Merrill, an Arizona State University journalism professor, found a strong increase in turnout. Merrill compared turnout of registered voters in five cities with Kids Voting with turnout in five cities without the program.
Merrill found that between five and ten percent of respondents reported Kids Voting was a factor in their decision to vote. This indicated that 600,000 adults nationwide were encouraged to vote by the program. ” This statement actually uses two appeals to ethos, an outside source who is knowledgable on the topic, and a statistical study that helps prove that lowering the voting age would probably help increase the voter turnout, although many people say otherwise.
Pathos also seemed absent in this article, but as I said before, was unnecessary, since they were trying to achieve a logical, complete argument that would be hard to undermine and easy to convince an audience. This is an effective way of convincing an audience without taking the easy way out, as many do, by appealing to just their emotions. Another common, easy way authors use to make their arguments is making unstated assumptions, which are easier to derail and also sort of the lazy way out, there are more dignified ways of making a solid claim, that won’t be rebuttaled so quickly.
Unstated assumptions is another tactic the author of the ‘Top Ten Reasons for Lowering the Voting Age’ did not include, which makes their article that much better, because as stated earlier, others aren’t so quick to rebuttal against them, since unstated assumptions don’t include real, legitmate reasons for their warrant and argument. The second article, ‘Don’t Drop the Voting Age,’ is from a Canadian online magazine that covers all kinds of topics, by Robyn Urback.
Her opinion is quite clear from the beginning of the article, when she begins with an imagination, “In this fantasyland, the Liberals are running on a strong platform of increased Justin Bieber performances, while the Conservatives are trailing with their “More School Dances” five-year-plan. The NDP’s “We’ll Talk to your Mom about Extending your Curfew” promise, however, hasn’t really taken off. ” Funny, yet a major over exaggeration, as if that is what would happen if teens were given the right to vote.
Her tone throughout this whole article, as shown in many quotes, shows that she does not take teens, even children, very seriously, she seems to look at the whole idea of lowering the voting age as a joke, and a sarcastic tone shines through in her writing often as well. She also compares B. C. Liberal leadership candidate Mike de Jong’s idea that 16-year-olds should be able to vote in provincial elections because it will create a “culture of engagement” by getting young people to the polls early, to giving out opsicles at polling stations.
It becomes ovious very quickly in her article that she is quite biased, and it seems that her clouded, close-minded judgment influences her ability to convince her audience and provide a solid argument for her claim in the beginning of her article. That being said, she still provides her audience with appeals to logos, ethos, and pathos, and tries to include many outside sources as well as remain more unbiased after her immature comments in the preface of her article.
She continues on, “While extending the vote to 16- and 17-year-olds would spectacularly increase turnout in the newly-formed “Under 18” category, the relative numbers will be just as abysmal as for those aged 18-24. In fact, they would probably be worse. Statistics show that voter turnout increases with age, even within the 18-24 category. So if those trends are any indication, 16-year-olds would likely have the worst showing of all. “
She begins this quote by using logic, that lowering the voting age would increase turnout in the under 18 category, stating the obvious, but says that they wouldnt be much different from the turnout for the 18-24 category. All very true, but how does she know that the number for those under eighteen wouldn’t be any different from those ages 18 to 24? In reality, she doesn’t, she is making an unstated assumption, which has no actual backing or evidence, and therefore does not help her argument at all, it really ruins it because all she did was provide us with her personal opinion and ideas, which does not help to convince us well.
She does appeal to ethos in this quote, by including that statistics (although she does include where they came from) show that voting increases with age. If that statement is true, and proven by statistics, then wouldn’t lowering the voting age to 16 help the 18-24 age group increase? She did not include that point, which is surprising considering it seems like a very good one, but it is obviously because this would again derail her previous argument that lowering the voting age would not help anything.
The author goes on to talk about the implications of a sixteen year old voting if they were “bribed by their parents, or by a stroke of luck” they voted, what knowledge would they have on what they’d be voting for? She makes a logical point to help this claim, “With few more than 14 years out of diapers, the newly-authorized voters would have little life experience from which to draw political conclusions or cast an informed vote. On the other hand though, being uninformed does not negate one’s right to vote.
Even when individuals are back in diapers, they can still cast a ballot, despite their perhaps eroding reasoning abilities. Of course, not all 90-year-olds have lost their wits, whereas no 16-year-old can remember, for example, the tax-happy premier that hijacked the province two terms ago. ” First off, makes sure that she added the word ‘diapers’ just to make sure that her audience doesn’t forget sixteen year olds still wear them, and she makes a point when she makses an analogy between teens’ lack of experience and knowledge to senior citizens’ lack of memory for their experiences, and they’re still technically allowed to vote.
She also touches on the fact that teens are easily influenced, “There have been countless studies affirming just how susceptible high school students are to outside influence– and just count the number of Canada Goose brand winter jackets you see on teens next time you’re in a mall if you have any doubts…. Politics would become an even dirtier game. ” She is once again making an unstated assumption that teens would be influenced by outside sources as much as she exaggerates that they do in her statement. Obviously, they aren’t, and she has no real, factual proof that they are influenced the way she says they are.
She ends her article with the statement, “Sixteen-year-olds should not be voting on that in which they have little stake, particularly during those formative years when “relativism” is just a word on an English pop quiz. ” She went out of her way to make sure that the reader did not forget that teens are, in fact, in high school. She included plenty of pathos throughout this article, with snide comments towards children, teens, and even the elderly, she made it very obvious, and she did not try to leave out her own personal emotions and disdain for lowering the voting age at all in her article.
It is astonishing that she included so much of her personal opinions and emotions, because that does not help in convincing her audience to believe what she believes, unless they already feel the same way as she does on the subject. ‘Mainaining Our Voting Standards’ was the last article chosen for this analysis, written by Michael J. Ring on the prestigious school of Massachusett’s Institute of Technology oldest online newspaper. He begins his article with the idea that both proposals to help lower he voting age at Cambridge City Council “Must be rejected. ” He also refers to these proposals as “Dangerous and problematic.
He also states that, “The protests of bitter, whining students over the new Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) tests demonstrate that many teens are not yet mature enough to participate in the political process. ” Maturity, a topic I touched on earlier in the National Youth Rights Association’s article analysis, where it is made clear that voting has nothing to do with intelligence and maturity when considering many older adults who have the same maturity as a ten year old. It is quite obvious from the beginning of this particular article what Michael J. Ring’s intent and opinion on the matter of lowering the voting age is, he feels very similarly about it as did Robyn Urback in her article I mentioned earlier, ‘Don’t Drop the Voting Age. ‘
He cares a lot about the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System tests, and feels that adolescents don’t. “A group of immature, angry teens could wreak havoc in a close school committee election, sweeping out candidates committed to high standards and true reform in favor of candidates who will oppose MCAS and pander to the students’ selfish, myopic vision. He pretty much compares teens to what sounds like a storm, ‘wreaking havoc’ and such. He makes a logical point when he states that, “Certainly, many 16-year-olds demonstrate the maturity that should be required of a voter, but undoubtedly many of their peers do not. ” Isn’t this true for adults as well? I could think of many adults with the maturity of a teenager, which makes teens not much different.
He makes another point by using appeal to logos, “Councillors argue that engaging teens in the political process before they leave for college will allow them to become knowledgeable about hometown politics and form a voting habit before leaving for college… Any young voter away at college can easily follow hometown happenings with a little initiative. ” News and information of happenings around the world is easy to find, fact. Obvious, but true point Michael J. Ring. He makes a terrible unstated assumption when he says, “Allowing non-citizens to vote creates the same problem that allowing 16-year-olds to vote would create.
Granting the franchise to non-citizens injects a pool of voters who have no obligation to learn about our political institutions into the electorate. ” He is comparing sixteen year olds to non-citizens and saying that sixteen year olds are not obligated to vote, basically, which is assuming that they don’t know or care about many of the topics they would vote on if allowed the priviledge. Surprising that an author pulished in such an esteemed school’s online newspaper would make such a frivilous mistake.
Many people say young people’s voice need to be heard. And voting is a great way to do this. But would lowering the age to 16 be the right way to go? Say what you think below!
All the Yes points:
- They deserve to have a say.
- YES, give them the rights they deserve!
- It would get younger people interested in politics
- Increase turnout
- Effected be the policy makers decisions
All the No points:
- Immature Choices
- Don’t really care
- They are still maturing, and have not learned enough yet through education as well as experience to make fully informed decisions.
- Where to draw the line?
- Rights of the 16 year old are not as far reaching as supposed so they do not warrant the vote on the ‘rights’/consistency argument
They deserve to have a say.
If they are now in a responsible stage of their life, they deserve a say on who will decide how their schools will be run through elections!
If a sixteen year old can join the Arm forces, then the right to vote should be allowed.
If the voting age is lowered to 16, then politics could become a GCSE course, meaning they will be fully prepared at an early date, ready for an election if they are 16 for example.
They have really only just got out to the world and to their ‘responsible stage’. They need some time to know how its run now and if it should be different or be changed. They can’t just vote or it won’t come fair as they may not know how the world is being run by government at this time.
Even if they are able to join the armed forces, its a voluntery job. You do not need a certain responsibility to join the forces. Its to simply serve your country.
Starting a class around this may disrupt education of other important subjects they have/choose to do. Its a whole other section of learning and one which is unnecessary to have on your shoulders at the same time as GCSE time.
YES, give them the rights they deserve!
yes, I do understand that sixteen year olds are you and some may be irresponsible but that shouldn’t determine why other 16 year olds cant vote, there should be a voting list of which 16 year olds are mature and responsible enough to vote there are plenty of other things they are aloud to do so why jepordise how this country is ran by not letting 16 year olds be able to vote, huh?
This isn’t just affecting you guys because you are old enough to vote. David Cameron has ruined this country and let the people of Britain down if we where aloud to vote then we could of changed that, for the better of Britain and the folks that live here!
Thank you for reading my viewpoint.
First of all, your proposed scheme here poses a practicality problem: who or what, will be deciding on the maturity of 16 years-old voters? How would “maturity” be measured? Through tests?
If we do let a group of 16 years old vote, and we ban another group of 16 years old from voting, then the problem of injustice will arise. Protests are likely to be sparked.
From your argument, it can be seen that your only reason for lowering the voting age to 16 is that “David Cameron ruined this country”. But it is unfair, if not dangerous, to damage existing voting system and democracy to exercise one group’s political views.
It would get younger people interested in politics
The numbers of young people’s interest is ridiculously low. How should we address this? One way would be to allow younger people the vote, as it would encourage them to investigate further into how it all works. Some may not be interested at all, thats fine. But should we really obstruct the opportunities for those interested in learning more? I think it is important for young people to be interested in politics as will affect them hugely at some point in their lives, therefore we should offer 16s and over the vote.
I agree that younger people need to be interested in politics. However, to give them the vote before they are educated and experienced enough to make truly informed decisions would be a disaster.
(Speaking mainly from a U.S. standpoint): Many young people do not even know the history of their own country, let alone the history of other countries. They do not understand the different systems of government in the world and the history of those governments, some of which led to the deaths of millions of people! I hear many young people say history is “irrelevant and meaningless”, but nothing could be further from the truth! To paraphrase, “Those who do not understand history are doomed to repeat it” could well apply to many young people today, as well as some older people, who have not bothered to learn history, or learn the Constitution, or learn about particular issues. People, these things CAN be a matter of life and death – the difference between being free or being a slave, between living under a freely elected leader or dying in a camp under a dictator!
If young people want to get involved in politics, they should start at a local level as a volunteer. In the meantime, get educated and experienced before taking the important step of voting!
It is argued that the voting age should be reduced to provide consistency between the age a person can vote; with the age they can leave school; marry; have children; leave home; pay taxes; work full time; and join the armed forces.
and also at the age of 16 you can choose to have sex it is legal to have sex at 16 which is a big responsibility in its self also as you can have sex you can choose whether to have a baby which would make you a parent and on all the medicines and food if you are over 10/13 you are classed as a adult so why can’t they have the opportunity to vote?
Can you please specify these qualities that at 16 year old lacks.
It is important to note that in England a 16-year-old can only marry or leave home with their parents’ permission. A 16-year-old also cannot buy alcohol, buy cigarettes, or drive a car. You cannot argue on the grounds of ‘consistency’ without also arguing to lower the legal age for these activities as well.
Furthermore how is it argued or by whom? by you? painstakingly not you create a logical fallacy by saying because 16 year olds do this they should be able to do that. My 12 year old nephew can run does that mean he should be able to participate in a marathon? obviously not because he lacks certain qualities that it takes to run a marathon just like 16 year olds lack certain qualities to vote at 16
Secondly, it is argued that not allowing 16 and 17 year-olds the vote further adds to young people’s feelings of political alienation and suggests that the views of 16 and 17-year olds are not valid.
“The exclusion of 16 and 17 year olds from elections is fuelling the disengagement of 18-24 year olds. The longer young people are denied involvement in the formal democratic process, the less chance there is of engaging them ever. There is no evidence to suggest that once 18, young people are likely to become more engaged.” – Electoral Reform Society
Allowing young people the vote will not result in them suddenly taking an interest in political parties and elections. On the whole, young people are concerned with specific causes and issues and are, therefore, politically active in other ways, e.g. going on protests, signing petitions, etc. I have never heard any of my friends say that there feelings are being hurt by political alienation honestly more often than not we hear 16-17 year olds complaining about everything imaginable except for when it comes to politics and has the ERS run a survey or questionnaire saying that “the exclusion of 16 and 17 year olds from elections is fueling the disengagement of 18-24 year olds and furthermore I find that if 18-24 yr olds wanted to be politically involved they would be.
Thirdly, due to the introduction of citizenship classes into the national curriculum, 16-year-olds are now in a better position than ever to make an informed decision at elections.
“In 2002, Citizenship was introduced as a compulsory subject as part of the English National Curriculum. At Key Stage 3 young people are taught about the electoral system and the importance of voting, central and local government, and the key characteristics of parliamentary and other forms of government. At Key Stage 4 they explore the actions citizens can take in democratic and electoral processes to influence decisions locally, nationally and beyond the operation of parliamentary democracy within the UK, and of other forms of government, both democratic and non-democratic, beyond the UK. Whilst young people are some of the only citizens to be educated about the voting system, they are denied the right to use this knowledge for at least two further years and anywhere up to seven years.” – Electoral Reform Society
However, most children of this age are not likely to have found their own ideological positioning. They are likely to be heavily influenced by the beliefs of their teachers and parents, effectively offering these groups extra votes. and furthermore most teens don’t even care about the voting system they just view it as another subject.
A further argument in favour of reducing the voting age is that reducing the voting age will increase turnout. This is because people are more likely to maintain the habit of voting throughout their lives if they start at a younger age.
At present, a child will usually leave school at 16. They are leaving an environment where political issues can be discussed and debated, increasing their interest in politics. Once they have left school, they may have to wait up to 8 years before they have their first opportunity to vote at a general election. By this time, they have lost interest and are less likely to vote.
The youngest age group has always provided the lowest turnout at elections. Reducing the voting age will further reduce the national average turnout for elections.
This matters because we don’t want to look bad to other contries.
Not all 30-year-olds have extensive knowledge of politics. As a 16-year-old I knew an extensive amount about each of the parties and their policies; I even knew a few hundred politicians and knew what they stood for.
I will not respect any law if nobody in government will represent me whilst making it.
If 16 year olds can work and pay taxes they should be allowed to choose who governs and spends their tax money on their behalf.
Firstly, 16 year olds shouldn’t be paying taxes.
You are one of the lucky few who, at the age of 16, knew what you were talking about. Most 16 year olds don’t. Democracy is about majoritative rule. If most 16 year olds are uninformed and don’t particularly understand or care about the results of elections, then they shouldn’t get the vote.
“The rights based argument maintains that as voting is the central way in which citizens express their judgement and support of government policy, it is only fair that those who are affected by major government decisions are given the opportunity to express their opinions via the ballot box. The most common examples of these are the responsibilities of joining the armed forces, raising a family and paying tax, the argument being that if you can die for your country, get married and pay tax, you should have the right to indicate your feelings to the government.” – Electoral Reform Society
Your voice is your vote- how can people expect the needs of under 18s to be met if their is no incentive (ie votes for the parties that help them)
It is a good argument. However, statistically, most 16 year olds are not in the army (as are most adults) and they are not married and/or raising a family. Most of them are also uninformed and generally ambivalent toward the politics, so would not vote anyway
Yes, on the face of it, if 16 year olds can “die for their country” and “get married and pay tax”, they should also be allowed to vote. Yet, how informed are their decisions in dying for their country? In getting married and raising a family? Not very. So it would be with the lowering of the voting age. So rather than informing people, we should oppress this group because we don’t like them.
Effected be the policy makers decisions
It is clear that in the modern day a sixteen year old is far more knowledgeable than the ones in the times of the past when such laws differentiating minors and adults were made. With the growing awareness of the society and the daily occurances we observe the sixteen year olds have the ability to understand politics and its effect on their lives. Because noone can deny that what ever happens as a result of the elections the sixteen year olds also are effected by the policies of the election winners. Therefore they must be given the right to be part of the decision making process by being included in the category of those people who chose the leaders who will be given the duty to shape their society and in the process effect their lives.
The average 16 year old in this country seems completely uninterested in politics and relatively unaware of its significance. Whilst they may realise that whatever happens has an effect on them and their lives, and may loosely follow the goings on of the world, they are not doing so to the point where they have warranted a vote. Do you really want uninformed children deciding the next Government?
It is true that many 16 year olds are informed, clever, interested and desperate to make changes. However, these 16/17 year olds are a minority in this.
One of the fundamental influences on our idea of government today has been the the Magna Carta Libertatum or Great Charter of Liberties. One of the most revolutionary ideas it promoted was no taxation without representation. At 16 an individual is required to involuntarily submit to the state a portion of their wealth. To then deny that individual a say as the the use of their money is fundamentally wrong.
Taxation is only contributing, under 16s are inferior because they haven’t lived as long, which is their fault, and therefore shouldn’t be able to vote.
If the voting age is lowered to 16, chavs will be voting. They’ll vote for what they think is ‘cool’ and may vote for BNP or a party like that, without knowing what they are doing or letting pass through in an election for example.
Most chavs won’t really be interested in poltics anyway. And if they do, they will most likely be overruled by main parties (Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrats in an election for example)
Don’t really care
The voting age in my country is 16 and I can tell you guys that it doesn’t really change the political situation.
Most of 16-year-old teenage electorate don’t care about politics and don’t actually vote.
Besides, an immature 16-year-old may elect an unprepared candidate who gets the kid’s vote with personal qualities and a manipulated and alienated speech
They are still maturing, and have not learned enough yet through education as well as experience to make fully informed decisions.
Research has shown the brains of young adults are not fully mature. Thus, they may not be able to fully comprehend the consequences of their choices, including who or what they might vote for. Below is an excerpt of an article from the website “Live Science” which describes what research has uncovered concerning the brain development of young adults:
At an age when Americans are first considered adults, their brains are still maturing, a new study suggests.
Researchers at Dartmouth College scanned the brains of nineteen 18-year-old students who had moved more than 100 miles to attend school.
“During the first year of college, students have many new experiences,” said psychologist Abigail Baird, the study’s principal investigator. “They are faced with new cognitive, social, and emotional challenges.”
A group of 17 older students, ranging in age from 25 to 35, served as a control group for comparison. The results showed that the freshmen students’ brains underwent significant changes and were very different from that of the older adults.
The researchers believe the changes represent an increased awareness of the students’ inner feelings and an improved ability to organize and integrate incoming sensory information; this synthesis helps shape the kinds of emotional and behavioral responses they have to new experiences.
The results are consistent with other research suggesting that the human brain continues to grow and mature right up to the point when we become adults and even beyond. In another study, researchers found that humans don’t really develop the ability to handle multiple pieces of information at once until about the ages of 16 or 17.
“The brain of an 18-year-old college freshman is still far from resembling the brain of someone in their mid-twenties,” said Craig Bennett, a graduate student who was involved in the new research. “When do we reach adulthood? It might be much later than we traditionally think.”
(end of article). In fact, this research, although it doesn’t address the issue of voting, suggests through extrapolation, that the age at which a person should be allowed to vote be RAISED instead!
Another argument against lowering the voting age is the fact that at all previous general elections, the youngest age group tends to produce the lowest turnout. Allowing 16-year-olds the vote will further reduce turnouts at UK elections.
This would not be the case, as 16 and 17 year-olds are more likely to be in, or to have recently been in, an environment where politics can be discussed. This means they will have a developed interest in the subject and will be more likely to vote.
Even if reducing the voting age were to reduce the turnout, it is preposterous that we should limit the franchise to avoid producing an embarrassing statistic.
There would be more people eligible to vote and hence the actual voting numbers would presumably increase, even if percentage turnout didn’t.
“Some people are concerned that lowering the voting age would lead to a lower turnout in elections, the theory being that a larger voting population made up of younger voters, who are currently less likely to vote, would reduce the overall turnout. However, analysis by the Electoral Reform Society shows that if 16-18 year olds turned out in the same proportion as the 18-24 age group, there would be virtually no effect on turnout. Even if not one 16-18 year old voted, overall turnout would drop by only 2%.
Women are less likely to vote than men, poor people less likely than the more affluent and people from minority ethnic groups less than white people. Nobody suggests that these lower turnout groups should have their voting rights removed. No one should suggest that some 16 and 17 year olds not voting is a good enough reason to deny the many that do want to vote.” – Electoral Reform Society
Where to draw the line?
The line has to be drawn somewhere. If the voting age was reduced to 16, could we then expect to hear cries for allowing 14-year-olds the vote? 18 is the age when an individual becomes an adult, and in a vast majority of democracies across the world, it is the age when an individual may vote at elections. It is, therefore, a sensible age at which to draw the line for UK elections.
A line has to be drawn somewhere, but 18 is not that age. A 16-year-old is likely to be well aware of the effect a government will have on their education and work prospects. They can pay tax. They can join the armed forces. They can raise children. A 16-year-old has just as much interest in who governs the country as any other person.
Does it really matter what the voting age is in other countries? This could even be an opportunity to take a lead and to inspire other nations to follow in our footsteps. We should certainly not leave the voting age at 18 because it’s ‘the norm’.
Inaddition, why should the fact that a 14-year old may be able to vote shock us, we trust children every day. Children as young as 13 can be trusted to handle rifles with live ammunition in the combined cadet force. But, they are institually irrational because of their date of birth until their 18th birthday.
Rights of the 16 year old are not as far reaching as supposed so they do not warrant the vote on the ‘rights’/consistency argument
16 and 17 year olds are restricted from front line duty, can only marry with their parents permission, and that anyone who purchases goods and services pays VAT.
16/17 year olds joining the armed forces sign up to a period of at least 4 years, meaning that at 16, they are making decisions which may place their lives in danger for half of their minimum time in the armed forces. Similarly, while 16/17 year olds in England and Wales require the permission of their parents or legal guardians to marry, being granted the legal responsibility over ones sex life, with potential health risks and/or creation of new life should not be underestimated. Finally, while VAT is indeed paid by anyone, this is clearly different to direct contributions to national insurance and jobseekers allowance paid by those over the age of 16.
The Electoral Reform Society
Why should discriminatory laws mean that uner 18s cannot vote, when these laws in of themselves are justified by the inability to vote.
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Updated: Jun 11th, 2022
Table of Contents
Why is it that we can work, join the army and get married by the age of 16, but we can’t vote at 16? What is it about electing a political representative that’s so much more important then choosing a husband or sending yourself off to potential death?
The voting age was lowered to 18 nearly 30 years ago, and many people now believe this out of date law is in desperate need of another revision. The most ancient of arguments “No taxation without representation” is still relevant today. If you work at sixteen, whether it’s flipping burgers in McDonald’s, a modern apprenticeship or holding down a Saturday job, taxes are still being taken out of your hard earned wages. (Mandle, 2007) If you’re contributing money to society, shouldn’t you have a say in where it goes and how it’s used?
In some parts of the world, youth of all ages can be sent to adult prisons by adult courts where they are put on trial for adult crimes. But who determines what these crimes are? Who sets the age at which you can be tried as an adult? The voters do. This may sound oversimplified, but the fact is, when voters elect a lawmaker, they are also choosing the laws. Candidates running for local councils, mayor, Member of Parliament, and, of course, Prime Minister, make public the laws they want passed. (Lankford, 2007)
Those against may use statistics to dispute this argument, citing poor voting turnout among 18-24 year olds and little understanding by 16 years olds of basic government functions. Others claim that those under 18 are immature, easily manipulated, uninterested and uniformed on political issues. But considering what goes on in government legislatures and city council meetings – those circus rings with predominately older white men yelling and making accusations at each other- it’s hard to take these arguments seriously.
At 16 many students are learning about history, government and economics. With new sophisticated school curricula as well as the internet, teens are growing in independence, aptitude and intellect. (Wattenberg, 2007) There is also absolutely no evidence to prove that teens are less knowledgeable on political issues than adults. (Lankford, 2007) After all, how did Hitler get voted in to power? It certainly wasn’t by the country’s “immature”16 year olds, but the adult voters. If teens are learning about these issues in the classroom, why not give us the opportunity to apply what we are learning in the real world, through the ballot box?
It is true that some 16 year olds don’t know a great deal about politics but this is not restricted to the youth alone. There are many adults who base their vote on whether “Mr X” has a full head of hair, a comforting voice, or whether he’ll give them the biggest tax cut regardless of how absurd his policies are.
Our society has changed, and teens now have to deal with many adult responsibilities. Many teens read the paper and watch the news just like adults. We know what’s going on politically and have opinions. Why must someone under 18 take on the responsibilities and there consequences as an adult without having the right to vote like one? The UN convention for the rights of the child says that all ‘All young people have the right to express our opinions by whatever means available.’ Therefore shouldn’t we be allowed to express ourselves through voting for our choice of political party? 16 year olds are affected by many of the laws made today and we have definitely earned the right to have our say in enacting them.
Lankford, Ronald D. (2007) Should the Voting Age Be Lowered? Greenhaven Press.
Wattenberg, Martin P. (2007) Is Voting for Young People? With a Postscript on Citizen Engagement. Longman Publishers; 2 Edition.
Mandle, Jay R. (2007) Democracy, America, and the Age of Globalization. Cambridge University Press.
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Should The Voting Age Be Lowered To 16? To lower or not to lower the voting age, it is a question I have thought greatly about and I say, I think not! I strongly think that the sixteen year olds of everyday life need not to vote. Sixteen year olds should not have the right to vote because most of us are too immature to even begin to understand who to vote for. If the state argued to put in a Government and Politics class, I guarantee that sixteen year olds would not learn from it. Why? Because more than half the class would fall asleep, be too bored to pay attention, or they just don’t care to listen.
My American History class proved this. If students can’t even pay attention to know how this country was founded, do you honestly think that they care to know that they can vote for the next secretary of state? They probably won’t even know what that position is and what it could lead to. Then there is that handful of teenagers who do listen to what the teacher is saying. They are those who do understand how the system works and want to be a part of it. But there is one slight problem; they do not have “experience.” The Vietnam War is why eighteen year olds can now vote.
In the 1960’s, people the ages of 18 or older were drafted into the Vietnam War. When they returned to America, they complained that the right to vote should be allowed to them, for they had served the country. Those that are sixteen have not been in any war, have not killed any enemies, and have not really served this country in any way. So why do we need the right to vote? Most of us teenagers don’t care who the next president is. Just as long as he / she doesn’t tear down the skate parks and the movie theaters.
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Особые предложения 2
Who can vote and who can’t?
This question has been debated nationwide during these past years. A fundamental element in the success of a democratic society is the willingness of the people to be self-governing. In today’s modern society, to say that we have a government that is for, by, and of the people does not mean that each citizen is dictatorial. It does not imply that each citizen takes the law into his or her own hands, but rather that everyone has the responsibility to actively participate in society. Thus, the problem of declining voter participation is an extremely serious one indeed. People are trying to come up with various solutions for this problem but the most debatable resolution is whether the voting age be lowered from eighteen to sixteen. What would persuade the government to lower the voting age to an even lower one than the young adults age of eighteen? On the other hand how can the youth of Canada who have their individual opinions and beliefs be able to make a difference in society without having the right to vote? …
This question has been debated nationwide during these past years. A fundamental element in the success of a democratic society is the willingness of the people to be self-governing. In today’s modern society, to say that we have a government that is for, by, and of the people does not mean that each citizen is dictatorial. It does not imply that each citizen takes the law into his or her own hands, but rather that everyone has the responsibility to actively participate in society. Thus, the problem of declining voter participation is an extremely serious one indeed. People are trying to come up with various solutions for this problem but the most debatable resolution is whether the voting age be lowered from eighteen to sixteen. What would persuade the government to lower the voting age to an even lower one than the young adults age of eighteen? On the other hand how can the youth of Canada who have their individual opinions and beliefs be able to make a difference in society without having the right to vote? I strongly believe that lowering the voting age will interest youth to further participate in politics and they will have an effect on the course of their future.
In today’s world, sixteen year olds are more mature and responsible than ever. Taking into consideration the amount of responsibility placed on teens, it does not seem inappropriate to include the right to vote. The population of Ontario between the ages of ten to eighteen accounts for about 14% of the province’s overall population. Of this 14%, thousands already possess a vast political knowledge and have similar concerns and demands of people who actually vote. In addition to that, the youth of Canada also have problems of their own which they are unable to address substantially to the government. Teenagers are interested in matters much different compared to an employed adult. They are more concerned about class sizes, lack of job opportunities and minimum wage. It has been said that parents should be the voice for their children but it is inevitable that they will vote according to their best interests and needs. Therefore their opinions remain unheard and aren’t taken into consideration, which is absolutely unfair in a democratic society.
Denying youth the right to vote is the same as denying women or racial minorities the right to vote. Nowadays it is very common for teenagers to have jobs and pay taxes, which is similar to what adults do. They also go to school to learn about politics and are aware of the issues in our world. The youth of Canada are perceived as mature in many aspects of life and yet they are seen as too immature to vote for themselves in an election or referendum. Sixteen year olds living in Canada could legally get married, have a family of their own, possess a driver’s license, work full time and yet the right to vote is refused to them. It is rather confusing because if you can manage all these responsibilities and make these choices how can you be too immature to vote.
It is frustrating for people under eighteen who are politically aware and put a lot of effort in their work for political campaigns. The beliefs and priorities of sixteen year olds are unique to them. Politicians who once were sixteen year olds are unlikely to have an accurate perspective compared to a current teenager. If the Canadian Government cares at all about the opinions and desires of their young population, they must give them the opportunity to vote for themselves. By giving them this opportunity, they will have the possibility to influence the course their life.
The right to vote is currently granted at probably the worst moment in one’s life. At eighteen many choose to leave the home and community they have lived in for the majority of their lives. They either move away to carry on with their studies or move away from home in search of a job. Being in a new community, which you are unfamiliar with, will turn off many voters. Lowering the voting age to sixteen will give the vote to people who have roots in a community, are aware of local issues, and will be more concerned about voting than those two years older. Youth have comfortable surroundings such as school, parents and friends. They feel connected to their community; all factors that will increase their desire and need to vote.
Attempts are often made to prevent young people from picking up bad habits, why are no attempts made to get youth acquainted with good habits, like voting? If Canadian citizens are involved in the process of voting earlier and get into the habit of doing so, the chances of them sticking with it through life is much higher. Political experts believe that not only will the turnout of young voters increase; it is also very probable that the turnout of their parents will increase as well.
The argument that youth should be given the right to vote because they lack the ability to make informed and intelligent decisions is only valid if these criteria are applied to all citizens. Yet they are not applied to everyone, only to young people. Senile people are not deprived of this right and neither are the thousands of alcoholics, drug-addicts and psychotics. It is obvious that intelligence or maturity is not the basis upon which the right to vote is granted because if that were the case all voters would need to pass a test before voting. Youth and adults should have the same voting rights in a democratic country.
Lowering the voting age will not dramatically improve the lives of youth, but I strongly believe that by giving them a real stake in their present lives that it will push them to become more involved and active citizens.
Leaders | Vote early, vote often
Young voters are becoming disillusioned with elections. Catch them early and teach them the value of democracy
HOW young is too young? Rich democracies give different answers, depending on the context: in New Jersey you can buy alcohol at 21 and cigarettes at 19, join the army at 17, have sex at 16 and be tried in court as an adult at 14. Such thresholds vary wildly from place to place. Belgian youngsters can get sozzled legally at 16. But on one thing most agree: only when you have turned 18 can you vote. When campaigners suggest lowering the voting age, the riposte is that 16- and 17-year-olds are too immature. This misses the real danger: that growing numbers of young people may not vote at all.
The trend across the West is disturbing (see article). Turnout of American voters under 25 at presidential elections fell from 50% in 1972 to 38% in 2012; among over-65s it rose from 64% to 70% (data for the 2016 election are not yet available). For congressional races, the under-25 vote was a dire 17% in 2014. A similar pattern is repeated across the rich world.
Young people’s disenchantment with the ballot box matters because voting is a habit: those who do not take to it young may never start. That could lead to ever-lower participation rates in decades to come, draining the legitimacy of governments in a vicious spiral in which poor turnout feeds scepticism towards democracy, and vice versa.
The disillusionment has many causes. The young tend to see voting as a choice rather than a duty (or, indeed, a privilege). The politically active tend to campaign on single issues rather than for a particular party. Politicians increasingly woo older voters—not only because they are more likely to vote but also because they make up a growing share of the electorate. Many young people see elections stacked against them. It is no surprise, then, that many of them turn away from voting.
Some countries make voting compulsory, which increases turnout rates. But that does not deal with the underlying disillusionment. Governments need to find ways to rekindle the passion, rather than continue to ignore its absence. A good step would be to lower the voting age to 16, ensuring that new voters get off to the best possible start.
This would be no arbitrary change. The usual threshold of 18 means that young people’s first chance to vote often coincides with finishing compulsory education and leaving home. Away from their parents, they have no established voters to emulate and little connection to their new communities. As they move around, they may remain off the electoral roll. Sixteen-year-olds, by contrast, can easily be added to it and introduced to civic life at home and school. They can pick up the voting habit by accompanying their parents to polling stations. In Scotland, where 16- and 17-year-olds were eligible to vote in the independence referendum in 2014, an impressive three-quarters of those who registered turned out on the day, compared with 54% of 18- to 24-year-olds. In 2007 Austria became the only rich country where 16-year-olds could vote in all elections. Encouragingly, turnout rates for under-18s are markedly higher than for 19- to 25-year-olds.
Merely lowering the voting age is not enough, however. Youth participation in Scotland might have been still higher if more schools had helped register pupils. Governments also need to work harder at keeping electoral rolls current. Some are experimenting with automatic updates whenever a citizen notifies a public body of a change of address. Civics lessons can be improved. Courses that promote open debate and give pupils a vote in aspects of their school lives are more likely to boost political commitment later in life than those that present dry facts about the mechanics of government.
Standing up to gerontocracy
A lower voting age would strengthen the voice of the young and signal that their opinions matter. It is they, after all, who will bear the brunt of climate change and service the debt that paid for benefits, such as pensions and health care, of today’s elderly. Voting at 16 would make it easier to initiate new citizens in civic life. Above all, it would help guarantee the supply of young voters needed to preserve the vitality of democracy. Catch them early, and they will grow into better citizens.
Millennials across the rich world are failing to vote
How to teach citizenship in schools
This article appeared in the Leaders section of the print edition under the headline «Vote early, vote often»
From the February 4th 2017 edition
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