Since 1971, the voting age in the USA has been 18, having previously been 21. This number should be lowered again, this time to to 16. People who are able to pay taxes and use roads deserve the right to vote in state and nation-wide elections.
In the late ‘60s, the voting age was 21, and the United States of America was in the midst of the Vietnam War. The voting age was lowered to 18 in 1971 because the war was drafting young men 18 and up, and the country’s populace felt that anyone old enough to go to war should be able to vote.
Even though there is no specific inciting event such as war, 16 and 17 year olds should have the right to vote as they can hold jobs and in turn pay income tax, as well as the fact that they are legally allowed to drive. Anyone the government directly affects should be able to vote for candidates that support their best interests.
Driving has higher standard of knowledge in the eyes of the law than voting as well. If teens must take a test to drive, should they not be given the right to vote at the same age? If the government trusts 16 year olds on the roads, it should trust them to vote in our elections.
It is each citizen’s civic responsibility to keep informed on current events in our country and around the world. A study done by the University of Pennsylvania found that just over a quarter of the country could name all three branches of government. If younger people could vote, it would give a chance for schools to better teach students about our democracy and encourage voting to be a habit.
In the United States, far too much of the population does not vote. Fewer than 60 percent of the voting eligible population voted in the 2016 presidential election, according to Penn State. Voter turnout is an essential piece of our democracy, and adding another two years to the bottom of the voting age could foster better voter turnout in generations to come.
Overall, voting is something that determines how our government functions for years to come, but if the power of voting was given to 16 and 17 year olds it could spark new life into the democratic process and help all citizens stay better informed through our school system to help the general public wade through biased news sources and confusing statistics.
If you feel that the voting age should be lowered, you can do something about it. Writing to Congressmen/women can really help make a difference, and talking about it with your friends can help normalize the idea and bring us closer to change.