Should the voting age in the Unites States be lowered to 16?  

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would argue that the voting age should not be lowered to 16.  I think that the average 16 year old does not know enough or care enough about politics to be allowed to vote.  In addition, I am not convinced that 16 is old enough to be entrusted with that responsibility.

In the United States, 16 year olds are in their first year of being allowed to drive.  They are usually not allowed to drive with other teens in their cars, for example.  This shows that they are not deemed to be responsible adults.  They are also not allowed to sign binding contracts or to enter the military.  They are not allowed to buy tobacco.  Society does not see them as adults and therefore they should not be allowed to vote.

In addition, the average 16 year old knows very little about politics.  People should have some idea about what is going on in the political world and about a country's government before they are allowed to vote.  Most 16 year olds do not have this kind of knowledge.

For these reasons, I think that 16 year olds should not be allowed to vote.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Pohnpei makes some outstanding points in the previous post and I agree with all of them. Additionally, from a biological standpoint, the human brain is not fully developed by the age of 16 (most estimates suggest that the brain does not reach full development until 20+ years of age). Few 16 year olds have matured sufficiently--either physically or emotionally--to handle many other far less significant situations than an important one such as voting. It would make little sense to give someone so young and inexperienced such an important right when other rights--such as driving, drinking and serving in the military--require a much older minimum age. 

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I understand the arguments against lowering the voting age to 16, although I have to point out these are the same arguments that were made against the 26th Amendment lowering the voting age to 18.  Sixteen year olds are allowed to drive, yes, but they are also allowed to work, meaning they pay sales taxes, state income taxes, gasoline taxes and more, as well as being required to file a federal tax return.

My point is, why is this not considered taxation without representation?

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
I don't think most 16 year olds are ready to vote. I doubt most of them want to. They are too young to make decisions based on objective reasons (not that most Americans do that). They also have not taken all of their American history and government classes.