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The Voting Age Should Not Be Lowered To 16 Essay

Argument - The Voting Age Must be Lowered Essay

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The Voting Age Must be Lowered for Democracy to Exist in America

Imagine for a moment that senior citizens were denied the right to vote. Imagine senior citizens being thought of as too incompetent to vote because some senior citizens are senile. Can you imagine such a large percentage of the American public being denied the right to vote – simply on account of their age? It cannot happen in America, right? Not in a free country, a country where the people control the government, not the other way around? It can happen. It does happen. Only, it does not happen to senior citizens – once they get the right to vote they keep it for life. It happens to young people – people below eighteen years of age. Youth are denied the right to vote…show more content…

Voting is also a universal human right, according to the United Nations. The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (Article 21) states that: "Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives" and that "the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage."

Young people pay taxes. Most pre-teens and teenagers have some method of earning their own income and any young person that purchases items pay sales tax. Tax-paying American citizens are denied the right to vote on account of their age. That is taxation without representation, a basic violation of the principles that this nation was founded upon. American independence was gained as protest against taxation without representation.

Allowing youth to vote is a controversial issue and one that will be met with skepticism. Some people believe that young people are not capable of voting, and will merely cast their votes frivolously. While it may be true that some young people, if given the right to vote, would make uniformed choices, it has already been proven that many voting adults make rash and uninformed choices when they go to the polls. In a Washington Post poll of 1514 adults, only forty-percent of those surveyed could name the Vice President, and

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Recently MPs have been debating whether or not the voting age, currently at 18, should be reduced to 16. Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Williams, has brought up the debate, stating that it would enable 1.5 million 16 and 17-year-olds to vote.The Labour party and the Liberal Democrats are in favour of lowering the voting age, but the Conservatives are opposed.

However, quite surprisingly, many students believe that the voting age should be kept at 18.
In a poll on The Student Room Website:

  • 79% said that the voting age should stay at 18.
  • Only 21% said that the voting age should be lowered to 16.

Many students believe that 16 and 17-year-olds should not have the vote because they are not interested in political issues and current affairs. One TSR user, Rybee, makes this clear – he states that “In general, 16 year olds have no interest in politics and are not educated well enough in politics to make an informed vote.”

Another TSR user, simoncino, says that despite the existence of legal limits for 16-year-olds – marriage (with permission), sex, paying taxes, getting a full-time job, etc – this is not enough to justify lowering the voting age.

He says, “I am in favour of the voting age being at 18 because this is a very symbolic cut off point. It is the age of adulthood and full acceptance of responsibility for your actions in society. Yes, a 16 year old may be able to marry and have children, but once again I fail to see why this in any shape or form justifies participation in an election.”

However there are some disagreements among students. TSR user, The Epicurean believes that the common assumption that young people are ignorant about politics is general stereotyping.

He says: “Those who are 16 and aren’t interested in politics will most likely not vote. Those who are interested and do understand will get to vote. Ignorance to politics is not something that is limited to 16 and 17 year olds only. There are so many older people who are also completely ignorant. I think there is too much negativity towards young people and everyone assumes that they are all uneducated and ignorant. I wouldn’t agree with this and I think that there are many intelligent 16 year old more than capable of making good political decisions.”

The majority of students believe that the voting age should not be lowered, but this is on the basis of the belief that many young people are ignorant of politics and world issues, which is not always true. While the debate on the voting age continues in Parliament, it seems to be the case that many students are already decided on the outcome: the voting age should stay at 18.

Related article: Students don’t think 16 is old enough to vote. More education on UK politics needed

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