When you turn 18, our society generally considers you an adult. You can join the military. You’re eligible for jury duty. And, of course, you gain the right to vote. However, you can get a job, pay taxes, and even be tried as an adult for some crimes at 16. Clearly, laws have an impact on nearly everyone well before they can cast their vote. Maybe we need to rethink the voting age. Should 16-year-olds be allowed to vote?

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OK, so voting may not SEEM like a big deal, especially since there’s a ton of eligible voters out there that don’t vote.

But it’s kinda awesome that in America, voting is a right. I mean, 40% of the world doesn’t even have the option to vote, which means they don’t get a say in their government. HOWEVER, the laws governing who can vote and who can’t have evolved over time. Regarding voting age, Some critics say that 16-year-olds aren’t mature enough or have enough life experience to cast an informed vote. Others argue that 16 year-olds should have a stake in laws that affect them.

Can you vote anywhere if you’re under 18? 

In some other countries, voting under the age of 18 isn’t controversial. Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador and Nicaragua all allow voting at 16. And, 3 cities in the U.S. allow 16 and 17 year-olds to vote in local elections.

What’s a major argument why 16-year-olds SHOULDN’T be allowed to vote? 

Some critics say that 16 year-olds aren’t mature enough or have enough life experience. After all, most are high schoolers, legally required to attend school and generally dependent on their family for food, clothing, and shelter.

What’s a major argument why 16-year-olds SHOULD be allowed to vote? 

Many argue that 16-year-olds should have a stake in laws that affect them. They go to school, so why not let them vote on school policy? A lot of them also have jobs where they’re taxed on their earnings without having any voting power to affect change in their government.

SOURCES:

Should 16-year-olds be allowed to vote?

The case for allowing 16-year-olds to vote

The surprising consequence of lowering the voting age

Nearly six-in-ten countries are now democratic

Young People Dramatically Increase their Turnout to 31%, Shape 2018 Midterm Elections

Should 16-Year Olds Be Allowed to Vote? 8 February,2019Annelise Wunderlich

Author

Annelise Wunderlich

Annelise is a documentary filmmaker, educator, and Youth Participation Manager at KQED. Her films have aired on national and regional public television outlets, and she teaches film studies at Diablo Valley College. She loves very spicy food, and traveling to places where people make it.

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