Why the minimum voting age should be lowered to 14 | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Voting is a responsibility bestowed upon citizens of a nation to choose a leader they feel has the best interest of the country and its people. There is one problem, though—the liberty of voting is limited only to people age 18 and older.

What is the problem with this, you may ask? We the younger generations put our future in the hands of older age groups who may not be here in a couple of years.

But this isn’t the only issue here, so let me expound.

America’s voting age used to be 21, until they made the 26th amendment in 1971 which changed the legal voting age to 18. India lowered its voting age from 21 to 18 as well in 1988, their reason being it would allow the youth to vent their feelings while helping them become a part of the political process.

Countries like Austria, Brazil, Norway, etc. have lowered their country’s minimum voting age to 16.

In 2013, when the voting age was lowered in the city of Takoma Park in Maryland, United States, many teenagers showed interest in voting, and registered voters below the age of 18 had a turnout rate four times higher than voters who were older.

Reports released in 2014 also indicate that kids in Norway, Scotland and Austria aged 16-17 also had a larger turnout rate than voters aged 20-35.

Maturity and education

I think the maturity of teenagers nowadays when it comes to political issues, the right to vote, and other government-related things is relatively high, thanks to more educational platforms and social media.

This doesn’t apply to all adolescents, though, owing to miseducation or the lack of it. This should serve as another reason for the voting age to be lowered: Peers can become interested in what’s going on and are able talk about their political views with one another. It creates a safe and educated environment.

It would make a larger difference if 14 year olds were allowed to vote, because older voters tend to focus more on how their vote will benefit them, instead of thinking of the greater good, for their country and their children’s future. In contrast, many teenagers are empathetic and have a strong sense of what’s going on around them.

Lowering the age may also be of help in increasing voter turnout. It could also rectify the stereotype in the older generation’s head: “You’re too young to do this!”

With the right tools and education, lowering the voter age could ultimately change our society for the better, and that’s really all that truly matters in the long run. —CONTRIBUTED INQ

The author is a 15-year-old incoming tenth-grader for school year 2021-2022.

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