Why voting age should be lowered to sixteen

“File:NYRA Berkeley voting age protest.jpg” by National Youth Rights Association is licensed with CC BY-SA 3.0.

Zoe O'Donnell, Ranger Review Reporter

Allowing sixteen year olds to vote would enable millions of new voters to make decisions that directly affect them. 

As a society, we elect leaders who will represent us, our beliefs, and how our tax money is spent. However, we leave out sixteen and seventeen year olds, members of our society who pay income tax, taxes on gas, cars, etc. Despite contributing to our economy and federal, state, and local budgets, they have no say in the world they live in. 

In 2019, a poll done by Hill-HarrisX found that 84% of voters opposed lowering the voting age to sixteen. This poll also shows that most people don’t think that sixteen year olds are mature enough to vote. 

Almost all sixteen year olds live at home and attend school. This allows them to access countless adults that have voted before and can teach them about voter registration and election processes.  We currently release people into the world as first-time voters who have no support system with them to learn about voting. Although this information can be found on the internet, many people don’t know what to search for or have trouble accessing the information. 

Lowering the voting age is not unheard of. In the 1960s, movements began on college campuses to give voting rights to eighteen year-olds. The center of activism has largely moved to high schools, allowing the possibility of similar movements beginning right here at Lewis-Palmer High School. 

Many issues impact sixteen and seventeen year olds directly, including climate change, LGBTQ+ rights, gender equality, gun safety laws, and more. 

Lowering the voting age would also mean lowering the age of political process, so the teenager would be responsible for risks associated with their political actions. This will also remove parental bias from their child’s ballot, since they will not be legally liable for their child’s vote.