Why Teenagers Should Be Allowed To Vote | Teen Ink

Why Teenagers Should Be Allowed To Vote

December 10, 2018
By G-J-Samuel GOLD, Tirana, Other
G-J-Samuel GOLD, Tirana, Other
12 articles 0 photos 5 comments

During World War II, the debate of the voting age to be lowered from 21 to 18 years sparked great controversy and intensified during the Vietnam war. The 26th Amendment which mentions “Old Enough To Fight, Old Enough To Vote” led to President Franklin D. Roosevelt to lower the voting age to 18 years old, which was the age you were allowed to vote. Now, in 2018, the US has let 17-year-olds to join the army with parental consent and many other countries have also lowered it to 16 ("Voting age" 2018). If the same situation is happening now, only difference being a lower age, how come that the countries with the voting age of 16 still rank as a minority?

Regarding the right to vote at 16, many people argue that most teens aren’t mature enough to vote. But let’s say that the government didn’t let elders to vote since some of them are senile, that would spark major controversy for people’s rights. A minority group of people shouldn’t represent an entire group as a whole, right? Hypocritically, people still argue that a small group of immature teens speak for all teenagers as an entire group. Expert Shannon Coulter quotes: “Teens are racially and ethnically more diverse than older generations, so I think they could not only fast-track immigration reform, but also help continue the promising trend of electing leaders who look more like America.”

Another argument includes how teens do not have adult responsibilities. Yes, that can be true, but it doesn’t mean that they have none. In fact teenagers have many adult-like responsibilities, ranging from holding a job to paying taxes. A study conveyed in 2017 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, showed that teens made up 15.5% of the labor force as well. Other than this, minors can also be criminally charged like adults and can follow the same criminal sentences (Hunter-Hart "D.C. Is Considering Lowering The Voting Age To 16. Here Are The Pros & Cons." 2018).

Additionally, a topic worth mentioning, is that the government’s decisions affect teens a lot more than they affect older generations. A controversial topic which covers this is gun violence. This year in February 14, a gunman opened fire in fellow classmates, murdering 17 innocent people and wounding another 17 in Parkland, Florida ("Stoneman Douglas High School shooting" 2018). This was a wake up call for everyone, leading to people from all over America to build campaigns and march for their lives. But, it’s not just the Parkland school shooting which has affected teens with gun violence. Studies show that there have been around 219,000 students who have experienced gun violence in their school since Columbine in 1999 ("Analysis | More than 210,000 students have experienced gun violence at school since Columbine"). Another study, based on gun violence outside of school, shows that over 2,700 children and teens (ages 0-19) are shot and killed and nearly 14,500 are injured every year, making an average of 47 American children and teens shot every day. Compared to other high-income countries, American children aged 5-14 are 14 times more likely to be killed with guns; and American adolescents and young adults aged 15-24 are 23 times more likely to be killed with guns ("The Impact of Gun Violence on American Children and Teenagers" 2018).

Lowering the voting age to 16 years old would allow teenagers to have their voices heard, where they can contribute to decisions which affect them. If teenagers were allowed to vote many issues would improve drastically, new opinions would be heard and they would have the right to adjust the future in their hands, making the world a better environment for them and everyone else.









   Works Cited

“Analysis | More than 210,000 Students Have Experienced Gun Violence at School since

Columbine.” The Washington Post, WP Company, Accessed Nov 4, 2018

Hunter-Hart, Monica. “D.C. Is Considering Lowering The Voting Age To 16. Here Are The Pros

& Cons.” Bustle, Bustle, 31 July 2018, 

Accessed Nov 4, 2018

“Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 12 Nov.

2018, Accessed Nov 14, 2018

“The Impact of Gun Violence on American Children and Teenagers.” EverytownResearch, 15 Aug. 2018.

Accessed Nov 1, 2018

“Voting Age.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 7 Nov. 2018, Accessed Nov 4, 2018

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