Voting Age Reveals Hypocrisy

andie cohen, staff writer

In order to be able to vote in the United States of America, one needs to be 18 years old. But, in order to get a job one only needs to be 16 years of age.

A percentage of every person’s paycheck is given to the government in the form of income tax.

If someone pays money to the government, shouldn’t they get a say in what the government does with their money? Whether or not you agree with a 16-year-old’s opinions should not matter.  If a person pays into the government, then that person, in a democracy, should be allowed to vote.

According to the LA Times article “A 16-year-old is as good as an 18-year-old — or a 40-year-old — at voting” by Laurence Steinberg, “If you’re old enough to work, pay taxes, and serve in the military, you ought to be old enough to drink, smoke, drive, and vote.”

I completely agree.

But the government doesn’t trust a 16-year-old’s judgement. This is not fair.  It is a gross generalization, a kind of prejudice. There are teenagers that should be trusted.

Teenagers who hold jobs and pay taxes are likely responsible enough to to vote.

There is also the probability that given the responsibility, teens would be motivated to inform themselves and make their choices carefully.

Not allowing teens who can drive a car and hold a job to vote is hypocritical when the government allows those same teens to be tried, convicted, and sentenced as adults in the court system.

It’s completely unfair that the government treats teenagers as mature adults when it comes to punishing them for crimes, but then claims they are still essentially children when it comes to voting.

The argument that teens do not possess the intellectual capacity to vote doesn’t hold up.  The reality is that there are plenty of adults whose mental incompetence or moral corruption make them dubious contributors to democracy.  Meanwhile, teens who may be far more responsible and fair minded than some of the adults in our nation who are currently casting their vote are being denied access to the process.

Scotland, Austria, and Germany are among those that do allow 16 and 17-year-olds to vote. According to a study done by Debating Europe, 89% of all 16-17 year olds voted in the 2015 referendum on Scottish independence. The overall turnout for the referendum was 84.5%.

I’m not saying that teens deserve every single right that adults do, but the current situation in the United States is “taxation without representation.”

If the government wants to treat teenagers like kids when it comes to voting, then we should be able to play the same “kid” card with everything.

You want me to turn in my homework on time?  You want me to come to a complete stop at the intersection?  You want me to be responsible?

Sorry, I guess I’m just a kid.