Voting Age Should Remain Unchanged

Natalie Li, Staff Writer

Turning 18 is officially the first step on the path to adulthood. For many people, this age marks the beginning of college, the start of a job, or new independence from parents. Yet, perhaps more importantly, one is able to vote.

In the 1970s, the Vietnam War caused the voting age to be lowered to 18. The fact that soldiers could be drafted at 18, but they did not have the right to vote, inspired social protest which resulted in this most recent adjustment to the 15th amendment.

The right to vote is guaranteed by the 15th amendment, and to exercise this right is a rite of passage for new adults. In addition to voting and the ability to enlist in the army, several other rights have are granted to those turning 18, such as the right to be an organ donor and to sign a contract in one’s own name.

For many, the right to vote is a cherished privilege. In the 2008 primary elections, 49.3-54.5% of people from the 18-29 age range voted, accounting for the second largest youth voter turnout in American history. A 2% increase in younger citizens voting (approximately 4 million more) indicates how eager people are to partake in their country’s laws and government. To those who discriminate against youth for being “ignorant,” I say that their contribution is vital. Having younger voices in government is necessary for both democracy and individual growth. Since a wider pool equals more representation, restricting youth from the right to vote would be contradicting democracy. In addition, voting is a necessary responsibility that signifies the transition from youth to adulthood and helps one’s maturity develop.

Raising the voting age undermines 18 year olds’ ability to make sound judgments as adults and denies them the right to exercise their citizen rights. These young adults are capable of evaluating candidate positions and helping shape our world. Their voices should be heard.