U.S debates voting age


Allyson Bonhaus

VOTING AGE UP FOR DEBATE. Some SHS students are able to vote their senior year. These students are able to register to vote. Registration is taking place during lunch on May 7 and 8.

Voting has been a contentious topic and has raised a number of questions throughout American history: who gets to vote, how are votes counted, and are all votes equal?

As a result of the youth activism sparked by the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, there has been a push to lower the voting age.

Student activists have been pushing to encourage adults to vote for gun control legislation. While this tactic may see results, some students feel that becoming voters themselves is a more direct strategy.

The voting age has been debated many times, but the discussion resurfaced as a result of the recent events. Legislation to lower the age has been proposed, most recently in Washington D.C.

The current voting age is 18, so few SHS students vote while in high school. Seniors with early birthdays may vote during their senior year.

Those advocating for this cause have decided that 16 is a better voting age. Opposers have argued that 16-year-olds are inadequately informed to vote on serious issues.

Most psychological studies of teenagers group 16 and 18-year-olds in the same category, symbolizing similar maturity and the same stage of development.

Some argue that lowering the voting age is a strategy to gain more democratic voters, but an article from NPR stated that, “a 2014 Pew survey showed that 50 percent of millennials self-identify as political independents.”

Of course, 16-year-olds lack two years of experience that 18-year-olds have acquired. In fact, some argue that even 18 is too young to understand the importance and repercussions of voting.

“I think 18 is ideal because if you’re old enough to die for this country you should be old enough to participate in government,” said Sarah Guedira, 11.
However, arguments about the maturity and immaturity of teens alike can be refuted with the idea that everyone is different.

An absolute rule can not be made to determine how mature people are in their teen years. Regardless of one’s personal views on the topic of the voting age, it is important to remember to neither dismiss nor accept another’s views strictly because of their age.