The Case for Lowering the Voting Age

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下面是凯瑟琳·扎伊亚(Kathryn Zaia)14岁的一篇文章。

Only a freshman in high school myself, until recently I had always accepted the idea that teenagers lack all responsibility. Convinced that high schoolers possessed insufficient maturity to vote, I dismissed the idea as absurd.

I was all the more shocked after attending the “March for Our Lives” on March 24th. Organized by high school students, the strength and courage that all the young speakers possessed were truly inspiring. My awe was shared by all who attended the march. The event finally reversed my doubt in my fellow teenagers. If high school students can organize a worldwide march in the face of an issue as difficult as gun violence, they are more than capable of voting. The time has come to lower the voting age to sixteen.

For those who doubt a younger person’s commitment to voting, consider the example of Takoma Park, Maryland. This suburb of Washington has permitted 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in local elections. The first election drew registered people in this age group at over four times the rate of older registered voters. Why hesitate to include a new demographic of voters, more eager and engaged even than their older counterparts?

Not only are younger people eager and willing to vote, but they are ready for the responsibility. By many standards, the age of sixteen is the beginning of adulthood. It is the age of responsibility, a time when maturity becomes an expectation. A common argument against lowering the voting age is that younger voters are incapable of making a well-advised decision. Yet at the same time, sixteen-year-olds are given the right to drive. It seems clear that anyone trusted with sound enough decision-making to protect the lives of those they share the road with should be trusted with their own vote.

Beyond being trusted with others’ lives, younger people are expected to shape their own. As a high school student, I can tell you of the constant emphasis on colleges and grade point averages, perpetual talk of how every one of our actions will shape the rest of our lives. By the time we turn sixteen, shouldn’t we be permitted to vote and given true power to shape our futures?

It is high time to challenge the perception of teenagers as entirely incompetent and irresponsible. The same people thought of as too immature to vote started a worldwide movement against gun violence. Not only does this show capability and political awareness, but proof that younger people deserve to have their voices heard.

Now is the time to give voice to the concerns of a younger population who have increasingly more to add to our present-day conversations as a society.

Works Cited

Generation Citizen. “Lowering the Voting Age for Local Elections in Takoma Park and Hyattsville, MD.” October 2016. 22 March 2018.

Steinberg, Laurence. “A 16-Year-Old Is as Good as an 18-Year-Old — or a 40-Year-Old — at Voting.” The Los Angeles Times. 3 November 2014. 26 March 2018.

Steinberg, Laurence. “Why We Should Lower the Voting Age to 16.” The New York Times. 2 March 2018. 26 March 2018.