Lower Voting Age Proposal
Should the voting age in the United States be lowered from 18 to 16?
POV: More than 80% of American teens, aged 16-18, have jobs and pay taxes. In the new information age, this group is far more informed and worldly than ever. This demographic group has a vested interest in improving their community, as well as a needed voice in their elected representatives that make laws directly affecting them. Lowering the voting age will have a key, and positive, effect on the sense of responsibility, character, and societal expectations of teens. Restriction of voting rights actually sends the message that teens are unable to adequately have input into the legislative process, but are still responsible for paying taxes and following laws (Top Ten Reasons, 2012).
THEORY: Demographics have changed over the 20th century, particularly the age of electoral majority. At the beginning of the 20th century, the global average voting age was 24, it is now 17. More than a dozen nations have lowered local, state or national voting age to 16, and Australia, the U.K. And the United States are considering such measures. Age can no longer be used as a qualifier for voting competence; a certain level of cognitive ability, reading acumen, and understanding of the basic Constitutional process is required, and is taught from 3th grade on. The last major piece of voting legislation, the 26th Amendment to the Constitution, was quickly passed during the height of the Vietnam Conflict, when many found a great deal of psychological and moral hypocrisy in sending 18-year-olds to fight a war, but denying them the right to vote.
While there is a great deal of polarization on the topic, one cannot deny that teens today live in an increasingly complex, data filled global environment. If we expect young people to be capable and future global leaders, then we must also acknowledge that they must have the responsibility and input into their government. (Grover, 2010; Hamilton, 2011).
Changes in demographics and psychographics over last three decades
Teen responsibility in the 21st century; media, technology, etc.
Constitutional rights of those paying taxes and contributing to the system
Psychological changes from giving more responsibility
Community improvement and making better citizens
1. Context of the issue
a. History of voting age in the United States
b. Why the voting age should be lowered
2. Purpose of including teens in the electoral decision
a. Changes in demographics
b. Changes in expectations.
3. Electoral competence
a. Examine pre-requisites
b. Examine cognitive development
a. Summation of argument
b. Application of argument
Top Ten Reasons to Lower the Voting Age. (2012). National Youth Rights Organization.
Retrieved from: http://www.youthrights.org/vote10.php
Grover, S. (2010). Young People’s Human Rights and the Politics of Voting Age. New York:
Hamilton, V.E. (2011). The Age of Electoral Majority. Bepress.com. Retrieved from:
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