Should The Voting Age Be Lowered?

This+political+cartoon+by+Raine+Wood+illustrates+one+problem+that+some+young+people+have+with+America%27s+system+of+voting.

Raine Wood

This political cartoon by Raine Wood illustrates one problem that some young people have with America’s system of voting.

Raine Wood, Reporter

Lowering the voting age is something that has been in question for a while and proves controversial every time it is brought into discussion. 

There are many young people all over the United States who feel that if they are old enough to have a driver’s license, then they are old enough to vote. Younger generations are becoming more politically informed and involved, as seen in the recent 2020 presidential election. 

When the U.S. was first established, the voting age was set at 21 years old. Then, in 1970, the voting age was lowered to 18 due to the argument that if people were old enough to be drafted into war, they were old enough to vote. However, now there are many discussions about wanting it lowered again. 

Not everyone agrees that it should be lowered.

“I would not [lower the voting age] because I think 18 is a good age. It is when you are an adult, so I cannot think of a single reason to lower it,” said senior Kylie Fitzgerald, who added that 16- and 17-year-olds do not have fully developed brains to be able to make those kinds of decisions. 

Scott Parkhouse, a social studies teacher at NHS, gave a similar response. He mentioned that 16- and 17-year-olds not only have less developed brains, but also, under most circumstances, they are provided with a sheltered or controlled environment, which prohibits them from having the life experience necessary to vote. Most teens of that age still live with their parents, do not pay any bills or rent, and do not have a full-time job and have not actually lived in the real world yet.   

On the other hand, some believe that it is important for teenagers to be able to participate in an election.

“I feel like with voting, it is more so that the people these elections are going to impact are the kids of the younger generation,” said senior Meghan Fennelly. She also felt strongly about possibly having a cut-off age, saying, “if you are like, 70, I don’t want you voting for my future.” 

Some also believe that different situations should be taken into consideration in terms of the voting age. Senior Ian Budrewicz said he would support something like California’s Proposition 18, which would allow 17-year-olds that would have turned 18 by the time of the actual election to register and vote in the primaries. Budrewicz believes that it is important that teens become involved now so that when they can vote, they are excited to cast their ballots. 

While it does not seem like the voting age will be lowered in the near future, it is still important that teens continue to educate themselves and stay informed on political issues.