Young people should have a say in electoral politics 

Why the voting age should be lowered from 18 to 16


Lauren Ashe, Staff Writer

With the 2020 election undecided and thousands of ballots still being counted, many people around the country are casting their ballots in hopes of impacting our country on a grand scale. But, a certain politically active demographic is not allowed to use their voice in this manner. 

By the age of 16, teenagers are trusted to drive, pay taxes, get married, work and run a business. Though minors are given adult responsibilities, they are denied the subsequent rights. Currently, the voting age in the United States is 18 years old and in Georgia, the earliest age to register to vote is 17 ½. I believe that the voting age should be lowered to 16. 

Young adults are expected to follow the law under the same consequences as an adult, so why shouldn’t they have a say in making these laws? In Georgia, those under 18 can be charged with adult consequences, and in every state, a case can be transferred from juvenile court into adult criminal court. An estimated 250,000 people under the age of 18 are tried, sentenced, or incarcerated as adults every year across the United States according to the National Juvenile Justice Network. 

The government expects young people to face equal consequences for breaking laws, ultimately imposing a sense of maturity on us. Due to this, I believe that we are mature enough to be informed in our voting and make decisions that we are confident in. 

Furthermore, young people are very involved in political matters. Over the summer I have seen a surge in political participation, with many young people becoming informed about political matters and taking the necessary steps to become advocates for causes that they believe in. We’ve also participated in politics by working with campaigns, advocating for rights through protesting or by just informing themselves through readings and research. 

If we can be involved in helping shape core issues facing this nation, we should be allowed to continue our activism in voting booths. Though becoming informed is great, we must also be able to exercise the right to vote in order to make impactful and long-lasting change. 

Similarly, by lowering the voting age to 16, there will be an increase in voter turnout. Research has shown that voting is habitual, meaning that people who vote in one election are more likely to vote in the next. By establishing a pattern of voting early on, we can create consistent voters that will encourage the government to better serve its people.

Overall, people under the age of 18 have been impacted by the decisions of representatives that they did not have a say in electing. I believe that 16 year olds are grounded in their political beliefs and possess the sense of maturity that is necessary to vote.