Why lowering America’s voting age might be beneficial

TED Talk: Adora Svitak talks about how adults should really listen to kids.

Carter Walz, Staff Writer

In a lot of respects the United States isn’t up to date with what other countries are doing. For example, look at how we measure temperature. But, when it comes to voting, America seems to be way behind. The first age that citizens can vote is 18, which cuts out a huge amount of the population. The number of people under the age of 17 is 74.2 million. And if we let those 16-17 year olds vote on topics that matter to their future it would be a large portion of the vote. 

Take a look to Flint, Michigan, where because of government cutbacks, there is  still no clean drinking water. Now look at a young activist, Little Miss Flint, who has raised $100,000 for filtration services. What if we let young people like her vote? If we had more people like little Miss Flint voting, then maybe some of America’s problems being swept under the rug would be fixed faster. 

Just letting the adults have the vote is clearly not working. In a quote from 12-year-old activist Mari Copeny, “Vote like my life and future depend on it… because it does,” she sums it up. These voting issues that we are letting all the adults handle directly impact the youth of America. 

Take a look at climate change. Nothing on a large scale has been done about it by the adults in the American government (and to a larger extent of most of the world) and if we let this keep happening, the younger population is going to be wiped out. 

Now look at young people attacking the topic of climate change, specifically, Greta Thunberg who sailed across an ocean to talk to world leaders who are continuing to not do anything about climate change. Gretta is taking time out of her education and  her life to battle climate change. If she and other young people don’t do things like she is doing, none of that will matter. If we let young activists like Greta vote, then maybe the attitude towards climate change would change. Because these young people don’t want to vote on climate change because it’s just important–it’s because their lives depend on it. 

Something else that the youth of America care about is gun violence and the lack of a cohesive gun policy in America. After the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, young people who survived the shooting took their feet to the pavement and protested, sparking protest and debate all across the nation. 

Those kids who were protesting all across the nation were mostly 15-17 years old. Now think about this: If those kids were allowed to vote after the shooting, maybe something more would have been done about the attitude about guns in America. Maybe there wouldn’t have been more shootings. 

Just look at Scotland. In Scotland the voting age is 17. In Scotland this has not caused any civic chaos. Remember it wasn’t the young voters that voted on the detrimental Brexit. It was the only adult voting populous of Great Britain. 

So, when we take a step back and look at the greater issue, maybe if we let young people in America vote, issues like Flint’s water, climate change, and America’s gun violence would be solved sooner because it’s the young people’s lives that are being damaged by these issues. And maybe if we didn’t let these younger people vote, their lives would be damaged for the worse. It’s time the US stepped up and changed the voting age.