Should we lower the voting age?

With the 2022 polls concluding on November 8th, these elections will play a significant role in shaping the future of teens and upcoming generations. 

The question “Should we lower the voting age?” has broken through the U.S government in the past when 126 Congressmen supported an amendment to lower the voting age to 16 in 2021. Additionally, in 2019, Texas Congressman Vicente Gonzalas publicly shared his support in his belief that 16 year olds should be allowed to vote in federal elections.

Today, lowering the voting age, for one, would significantly increase the voter turnout and provide a wider range of the population. Research shows that voting is a habitual act and that people who vote in one election are likely to vote in the next. Establishing a voting habit at 16 instead of 18 would increase their long-term involvement and expose them to government policy and influence earlier. 

More and more teens are already becoming involved in government activities besides voting by participating in protests, going to campaigns, and even creating Political Action Committees that advocate their rights in front of legislative bodies. Younger generations are just as affected by local political issues as anyone else and lowering the voting age would allow them to express their concerns and make decisions about their futures directly to government officials. 

Many people, however, voice their concerns about lowering the voting age to 16 and believe teens under the age of 18 lack the motivation to participate in the electoral process. Ideas of immaturity and limited exposure to civic education push politicians away from the thought of lowering the voting age. Additionally, with the median voting age in the United States being between 39 and 45, would lowering the voting age even be that influential in federal elections?

Despite the difference in age, many teenagers share similar responsibilities to adults. While also being full-time students, teens may also balance employment, volunteering, or playing a significant role in their households. If 16 year olds are considered old and mature enough to drive a car, start apprenticeships, register to donate blood, individually apply for a passport, attend medical appointments alone, and even in some cases pay taxes, then surely they understand the responsibility and influence that comes with voting in an election.

Students today live through debates and concerns regarding school shootings and climate change, and they deserve to influence the federal government beyond just attending protests and signing petitions. Younger generations are expected to follow adult laws but have no say in making them.