Lowering the Voting Age

With the recent vote regarding Scottish Independence, it came to my attention that the minimum voting age for that referendum was 16 years old.  About 100,000 16 year olds voted in that election.  It is unknown how many, of those who participated, voted for or against independence.  It is also unknown if Scotland will maintain the 16 year old threshold for future elections.  At this moment, this experiment is a one-shot deal.

In the United States, the minimum voting age is 18 years old.  The 26th Amendment, which passed in 1971, made this happen.  It was a time of social protests and unrest on many college campuses and cities.  Young people, protesting the Vietnam War, were angry with the fact that they could not vote, but yet they could still be drafted into the nation’s military.  Thus, lowering the voting age had a social and political motive to it.

What would it take for the United States to lower the voting age to 16?  Do you foresee this ever happening?

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35 responses to “Lowering the Voting Age

  1. At eighteen, I was overjoyed to be able to vote in the 2012 Presidential Election. As a senior in high school who would soon be going to college and joining the real world, I felt it was important to have a say in my government. While I was going to the polls, most of my classmates were sitting at home because they were only seventeen and would need to wait four years before another Presidential Election would come up for them to vote in. I think the voting age should be lowered because at sixteen, you are starting to join the adult world where decisions made by the government will affect your every day life. If 100,000 sixteen year olds are voting in Scotland, I can only imagine the number of sixteen and seventeen year olds who would like to have their say in America.

  2. Tasneem Abdelmajid

    I think that if the United States isn’t getting enough votes from young people they will lower the voting age to 16. Right now, I feel like a lot of young adults are interested in voting when they turn 18, so I don’t see them lowering the voting age yet. However, I do think the voting age should be lowered to 16. When kids turn 16, they are becoming an adult and are taking on more responsibility, so if they are interested in voting they should be allowed to.

  3. Have you ever thought about why the age for voting is so high? Well, I have. Right now, in order to vote in the U.S. you must be 18 years or older and a US citizen I think the U.S should lower the voting age to 16. Teenagers should vote because it’s their future. All people are affected by the decisions politicians make. If we allow teens to vote, it lets them have a say in their future. The teens who are ignorant and don’t care, wouldn’t vote anyway. Those that do care, are the future leaders of our nation. Teenagers take on a lot of adult responsibilities already. 80 % of teens pay 9.7 billion dollars on sales tax and income tax from their jobs. 400, 731, 249 teens between 16 and 19 possess valid driver’s licenses. Adults have kids to support and so do teens. 820,000 teens have kids each year. Teens are also interested in politics. There is a survey that shows 60% of teens are interested in politics. Hundreds of thousands of 16 and 17 year olds choose to study politics. Some teenagers are probably uninterested because they have no say and can’t vote. These are just a few reasons the U.S should lower the voting age to 16. Teenagers are going to have to live in the world we created from votes. They have many adult responsibilities, even though we don’t see it that way. A lot of teenagers are interested in politics but there would be more teens interested if they could vote.

  4. I think that the United States should lower the voting age to 16. 16 year-olds should be allowed to vote because they too should have a say in what goes on in their future and the people who could potentially be representing them and if they got the chance to vote, they would be able to have somewhat of a say in who that person is. I don’t think the U.S. will be changing this law any time soon and I think it would take a lot for them to change it. It would take a huge decrease in the amount of younger people voting for the government to start the conversation about lowering the voting age to 16. I personally was not interested in politics at the age of 16, but I think the teenagers who are, should be able to vote who they think is the best candidate at that time.

  5. I think I the voting age should be changed to sixteen because many kids this age are starting to drive and are taking a government class at this age. They are learning about the people running for candidate to become senator or president or even mayor. I don’t think the voting age will be lowered anytime soon. Thats only if they see a decrease in young adults voting, but I do see it happening in the near future. I feel like sixteen years old understand whats happening in politics so they should have a right to vote.

  6. I don’t think that the voting age will change any time soon. I really don’t think 16 year olds know much about the candidates or what they stand for. Just as Alaa mentioned, they are now taking a government class, and just because they are in that class doesn’t mean that they will all of the sudden become interested in politics. I definitely wasn’t interested in politics at 16, and as a 20 year old my interest is about the same. How ever I think if the voting age changed, and you were informed and could make a good decision, I say do it!

  7. I think the only way they see more young people taking an interest into politics. I think this will be happening soon because I think teens are getting more involved on learning politics. Do I think its a good idea? I honestly feel like its not a good idea because at such a young age they could just be following their friends who they voted for. Some will be forced what their parents have voted for and I think its not showing their opinion on the matter. If they do change it I think we can expect more interest on politics at a very young age.

  8. Katelyn Mategrano

    As of right now i do not see the minimum voting age being changed to 16. when the voting age was changed to 18 because if they had to fight in the war they should also be able to vote which makes seance. it could be lowered to 16 just because at that age teens are able to decied who they want in political office and what their stance is on things like drugs and gay marrige.

  9. I am 50/50 for lowering the voting age. I am for it because it can increase this nation’s knowledge of politics at an earlier age. I am against it because I believe minors will be influenced by what the adults around them believe or how they feel.

  10. To be honest I don’t think lowing the voting age will be a good idea. I understand why the youth of the Vietnam would be angry but in this day of age I don’t think its a good idea. At 16 people are still kids and still learning about life and ect. They will only vote for who there parents tells them to vote for and wont make there own decision.

  11. I think it would be a wonderful idea to lower voting age. I think the only reason why it isn’t, is because a lot of people know that teenagers are very informed. Whoever said that teenagers don’t know enough about real social issues or don’t have enough real opinion about it, is probably the same person who said woman can shut down a pregnancy in the instance of rape. Adults have more ignorance and not enough understanding of how teenagers care about social issues. If teens were allowed to vote at a younger age, there wouldn’t be so much ignorance of social issues like, immigration, gay marriage and abortion. I think that teens have a lot more valuable insight on these issues than adults. Reason 1: Gay marriage, politicians are saying they are religious and that’s the reason its wrong, teens have enough insight to know that religion shouldn’t matter when it comes to what is right in respecting others. Reason 2: Immigration, politicians are mostly white males and they play into fear of terrorists, teens have enough insight to know that it is about equality and respecting your fellow person. Reason 3: Abortion, again, it is also a religion issue. But, it is also a ignorance issue, the majority of politicians that are against this are men, and they don’t care because it doesn’t affect them. As for the females, they are for it because they are mostly 40+ and are unaffected because they cannot have anymore children. Reason 4: The pot debate. They are afraid that it will be legalized. We have enough sense to know that it is only illegal because at the time the timber industry was gaining headway, so they came up with unproven evidence of why it is bad to consume pot. It would also improve the economy greatly.

  12. I do not foresee the voting age being lowered. Yes sixteen year olds are smart enough to vote but in my opinion not many are well informed as to what is going on in elections. I think that the voting age should stay where it’s at. I know that when I was sixteen, I did not pay a lot of attention to what was going on in the politics world. It just didn’t interest me as much as what was going on around me. I understand the effect that not letting teenagers vote had around the time of the Vietnam War but I think that sixteen is still too young to vote. Also since being sixteen is still qualified as a teenager, the maturity level is not high enough and not responsible enough to make an unbiased opinion on some of the issues that are being put up to vote, for example legalized marijuana. I know not all sixteen year olds should be stereotyped as not qualified enough but they are still underage and most do not possess the right amount of knowledge to vote with any amount of certainty.

  13. I do not think that the voting age in the United States will be lowered unless the age to join the army is lowered. I am against both of these things happening and I do not foresee them happening anytime in the near future. I believe that 16 year olds are still children and a majority of them will not be prepared to vote. I can picture 16 year olds driving to the nearest polling place with their parents and then voting for whoever their parents are voting for. Since 18 is the age that you are considered an adult in the United States I believe it should remain the voting age.

  14. The only way the voting age will be lowered, is if a major collapse in our current government and voting processes takes place. Any circumstance that would cause the need for more votes, like having to start up a new government. Considering that the U.S. is already a stable independent nation I don’t see this ever happening.

  15. I think that they should lower the voting age. I believe that people tend to look down on teenagers and think that they are incompetent but I definitely disagree with that. I saw in a few post that people think sixteen year olds are still kids but there really isn’t much difference between how an eighteen year old and a sixteen year old thinks. Lowering the voting age may make those teens more interested in politics and it’s nice to have fresh minds contemplating who they want in office instead of old people with outdated views. It probably won’t happen but it would be great if it did.

  16. I don’t think that the voting age in the United States should be lowered. At the age of 16 these people are still kids and are very uninformed on what is happening in the world. And if the voting age was lowered they would likely just vote for the same people as their parents.

  17. Julian Renteria

    I don’t believe the United States would lower the voting age only because most 18 year olds don’t even vote. When I attended Bradley University and was going for my first time voting at the Presidential Election I would ask around my floor to see who else would be voting as well, and I remember only 3 of us out of the 30 were registered to vote. For the United States to lower the voting age to 16 I believe there would have to be a huge turn-around for the voting turnout of our age group.

  18. In my opinion, I feel that it would take a lot for the voting age to be lowered to 16 years old. I think that the voting age would only be changed if a larger number of voters were needed for an election, as well as a wide age range of voters. I do not see this happening in the United States in the near future. I believe that 16 years of age is too young to vote. Not many 18 year olds know a sufficient amout of knowledge on the candidates running for office, therefore an even lower number of 16 year olds would have proper knowledge. I feel many 16 years olds would not care enough to vote and do not take any interest in politics at this age. I do not see this change happening in the United States any time soon.

  19. I sort of feel like a colonist saying, “no taxation without representation” on this one. I remember thinking that it was unfair for them to be taking all my money for stuff I have no say in. I think that there should be a change with either the tax on 16 and 17 year olds or for the voting age should just be changed to 16. A vast majority of them most likely wouldn’t vote. Out of the minority that actually do vote most of them would just be voting the way their parents do. I really don’t see it changing anytime soon because I’m pretty positive that government doesn’t hear many complaints from disgruntled 16 year olds.

  20. I think the voting age should be lowered to 16. At 16, most kids are not only getting their drivers license, but a lot of high school students are taking American Government classes at school. We allow these students to learn about how our government works, and we have them follow the candidates as part of their homework. Its almost a tease for some of these students that we make them follow the candidates so close, but they can’t actually vote. I know a lot of 18 year olds who are allowed to vote, and cast their vote for random people, just because they can.

  21. Nicole Chrupczak

    I do not think that the United States will lower the voting age to 16.
    If we allowed 16 year olds to vote, the elections would be swayed by the minds of UN-experienced people, thus giving the elections a portion of opinions given by people who don’t know anything about the subject. The brain is not fully developed until the age of 25. 16 is far too young for people to fully understand their actions and consequences. Yes, age is not everything, but it’s a good place to start putting restrictions. The voting age used to be 21 and got dropped down to 18 only because it was the military service age.

  22. I don’t see the voting age being lowered anytime soon. I personally don’t think they’re educated enough in law and politics to make a decision for representatives there of. Changing that would/could cause a chain reaction to other laws with age criteria such as drinking, smoking, entering into a contract to name a few.

  23. Brandon Campbell

    I don’t believe the voting age should ever be changed from the age it is. At 16 years old I feel kids aren’t really worried about politics and they really shouldn’t have to worry about that. 18 years old is the perfect age to be able to vote because you are more mature and have a better understanding of the system as you grow up.

  24. I don’t think that the voting age should be lowered to 16. In my perspective, there are 16 year olds who are very intellegent , but there is also 16 year olds who are very uninformed about who they are voting for. I think the voting age should stay at 18, because at that age there will be more adolescents who will be more informed about who they are voting.

  25. I do not think the voting age will be or should be lowered to the age of 16. Although some have made good points about more young people having a say in their future, I personally do not believe many 16 year olds would know or even be interested in the candidates. I think 18 is a good age to be able to vote.

  26. I do not think the voting age should be lowered to 16. I believe it may increase the amount of voters, but decrease the importance of each vote. At age 16 I was not informed nor really cared about politics and I believe most 16 year olds are more considered about what is trending on twitter or who has the most likes on their instagram pictures than politics. I do not foresee this happening because I believe the people want to see adults voting and not teenagers picking the name brand official instead of who is more likely qualified.

  27. Everyone waits for their 18th birthday so they could either A) vote B) by cigarettes C) more socially liberating acts that come along with the new age. It would take tighter restrictions on those acts if they are strictly meant for 18+, you’re gonna have sixteen year olds trying to do the same thing. If America is ready to watch kids growing up even faster then they are, then yes lower it.

  28. I think it would take a great deal of social unrest for the government to lower the voting age to 16. I do not foresee this happening anytime soon in the near future, either. Many 16 year olds today are very uninformed when it comes to political issues and I think that their votes may be cast for wrong reasons, such as being misinformed on a topic or voting for a candidate based on who their parents are voting for.

  29. Madilyn Seyller

    I do not believe that the voting age should be lowered, and I don’t foresee it happening. At age 16, I don’t think that kids are very interested or informed about politics. There may be more votes, but I believe in quality over quantity. Because most 16 year olds aren’t very educated in this area, their votes may not be very meaningful, or useful. When you turn 18, you become a legal adult and I think that it’s appropriate to be able to vote when you become of age.

  30. I do not foresee the voting age being lowered to 16. I also do not think that would really be a smart choice to. Most 16 year olds are not educated in political matters, nor do they care. So most 16 years olds I would think wouldn’t even vote, or wouldn’t even really care to vote.

  31. I do not foresee the voting age being lowered to 16. I understand there are a lot well educated 16 year olds in the world- but I feel like their vote wouldn’t really count. I feel like their parents would just tell them who to vote for and that not too many 16 year olds would be interested in politics- it’s sort of an immature age.

  32. we should lower the voting age because we allow the adults to make the chooses for the children’s future…..we allow children to enlist in the military before they are out of high school and make life changing chooses before they can vote or drink….I believe both should be lowered we need to give our future a chance to change it and make decisions that will effect them in there life time

  33. Patrick Szupernak

    I do not see the voting age being lowered to 16, especially since their is not a vast amount of 18 year olds voting. I do think that it would be a good idea to offer 16 year olds the option to vote because it could potentially spark their interest at a young age and they might actually be interested and care whats going on in the world. Also at the age of 16 you are typically growing up and having more responsibilities so maybe it would help them make better choices for their future.

  34. I believe the United States would lower the voting age if 16-17 year olds grabbed enough attention from politicians as possible votes. I would see many Independents and Democrats trying to achieve this because many young people would favor for these parties because the stances of these parties would associate with many of the youth’s opinions. I do see this happening at some point, I believe it would be far out into the future still. I believe a 16 year old can be well informed and are capable of making an informed opinion on an issue, but i do believe many people change once they are not supported by their parents anymore. Because many of today’s issues do not affect teens directly, they are only an extensions of their families i.e. Mom & Dad, they would not bear as much as them from changes in politics or responsibilities.

  35. Considering the fact that the numbers of voters have fallen dramatically, I do believe that sooner or later United States will lower the voting age to 16 in order to increase participation. Personally I do not believe this would be a good idea. Yes, it would provide teens with a great learning experience, however I feel kind of iffy about high school students picking our world leader. I don’t mean to be impolite or offensive here, but anybody under the age of 18, I still consider a child. While they do have life experiences, they are very different than those of us adults. Many of them do not have experience in areas such as work, unemployment, taxes and war. It would be hard for them to understand the issues that candidates are campaigning on in order to win votes.

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