Pro: The voting age should be lowered.

In 1971, Congress passed the 21st amendment which lowered the voting age to 18. More recently, California’s Proposition 18 was proposed to allow 17-year-olds to vote in the Primary and Secondary elections if they turn 18 by the upcoming general election.

San Francisco proposed lowering the voting age to 16 in May for the upcoming election. Many officials oppose the idea, however, there are four cities in Maryland that grant their teens to vote in the municipal elections. Many nations like Austria and Argentina have passed bills that have lowered their voting age. The United States should follow in their footsteps and lower their voting age to 16.

Teenagers start gaining responsibilities when they turn 16. Many drive a car, have a job, pay taxes and are tried as an adult in court. More than 250,000 teenagers under 18 are tried in court because they are seen as responsible, therefore, society expects them to face the same consequences as an adult, according to the National Youths Rights Association. If teens are deemed responsible enough to behave as adults when driving a vehicle, working and facing similar consequences, then they should be allowed to vote.

Younger citizens are equally affected by government policies on gun violence, climate change and decisions about schools, however, they have no voice to express their opinion regarding those matters. Teens like Thandiwe Abdullah, a 16-year-old and co-founder of Black Lives Matter Vanguard, and Anya Dillard, a 17-year-old who organized a protest, have started action against issues that concern them and their future, according to an article by Elle. Furthermore, teens all over the nation have attended and organized such protests, stood in the front lines, and educated people regarding political issues, according to the New York Times. Teens are consistently involved in politics because the issues they advocate for will have a significant impact on their future, therefore, they should have the right to vote for their future.

Some may argue that teens are uninformed. However, by actively participating in movements such as Women’s rights, Black Lives Matter, support and rights for LGBTQIA+ community, and climate change, teens are proving that they are willing to educate themselves regarding these issues to protest for their rights. This proves that teens are not completely ignorant of political issues like some government officials claim they are. Additionally, half of Americans don’t mention politics more than once a week, according to PewResearch. If adults don’t talk about these political issues more than teens do, then why should teens be deemed uninformed and not given the right to vote based on their current knowledge?

The voting age should be lowered because teens are seen as responsible enough to partake in activities considered mature such as driving, facing similar consequences of adults, and working. Teens are also passionately involved in political issues, but without a medium to express their voice through, such as the right for 16-year-olds to vote, their efforts are insignificant in government decisions.