• Andre-Ross Gennette

Should the Voting Age be Lowered to 16?

In recent years, the idea of lowering the voting age has become more and more openly discussed in politics and the media. Many people have discussed the pros and cons of lowering the voting age to a theoretical 16-years-old, which is what I have come here to discuss today. In my view, lowering the voting age is an extremely risky decision that should be avoided.

First, let’s look at the obvious: 16-year-olds are not close at all to most anyone’s view of a mature adult. Most 16-year-olds, although past the visual changes of puberty, are still neurologically in turmoil. The centers of the brain responsible for logical thinking and processing are still developing, and, let’s be honest, it shows. If you doubt me on this, get some friends together in a car and put the radio on. You’ll see what I mean in less than ten minutes.

Additionally, let’s consider something else about 16-year-olds and voting - they hold relatively little responsibility for the results of their votes compared to adults. With an 18-year-old, they are mostly independent, and are preparing for college and independent life. Therefore, they can feel the impact of their vote far more personally than 16-year-olds, who would not feel the consequences of their votes by the fact that they are still under the care of their parents. Therefore, if 16-year-olds cannot accept responsibility for the consequences of the votes they cast, under no circumstances should they be given the responsibility of voting in the first place.

Finally, younger people are particularly vulnerable to indoctrination by extremist groups. Now, saying that younger people are more likely than adults to vote for an extremist group may seem like a stretch, but bear with me. Recruiting from the disenfranchised is a known tactic of both far left and far right groups, and it is chillingly effective on younger people. Everyone craves belonging, and all it takes is for some group to step in and give such people a place in the world and a little confidence. This is why the far right, in particular, operates online - the kids are online, and therefore more accessible through the internet. If 16-year-olds were given the right to vote, you could probably expect to see a massive wave of online radicalization from both extremes of the political spectrum. And if that wave succeeds - well, just be prepared to have a situation that makes our present political divide look like a tea party.

In conclusion, the voting age should not be lowered because 16-year-olds are not mentally mature enough for the vote, because they cannot accept the consequences of their votes, and because lowering the voting age to 16 risks creating an extremist political climate, the likes of which we have never seen. In my opinion, it is clear that the voting age should stay where it is - at 18.