Voting age should be raised


Lucas Hafer, BHS Journalism

In the United States today, there is a movement within the Democratic Party to lower the minimum voting age to 16. That means a sophomore in high school could be determining the future for all American citizens. According to the Pew Research Center, i.n the summer of 2017, only about 35 percent of Americans between age 16 and 19 had jobs. Even fewer have filed their taxes with the IRS and understand what the tax process consists of. Generally, students do not have a clue how much their parents and guardians pay in property taxes and insurance. Without any financial knowledge or experience, citizens in their teenage years should not be allowed to vote in our presidential elections. Rather than lowering the voting age, it should be raised to 21 because voters should have financial knowledge, life experiences, and work ethic. These traits are not usually possessed by 16 to 20 year-olds.

At age 18, people are first exposed to the world first-hand. After graduating high school, many students are getting jobs or going off to college. For the first time, they are living alone, paying for their own living costs, bills, taxes, and other expenses. They will realize that hard work is required, and that life isn’t nearly as easy as they thought it was in high school. These new pieces of information can only be gathered by living this way for multiple years. Without a good financial sense, teenagers cannot be relied upon to make good decisions about what is right for America.

It isn’t unlike teenagers to make decisions without fully contemplating the potential outcomes. Around 2016, ignorant teenagers thought it was amusing to consume Tide Pods. The internet went viral with videos of children eating the pods and joking about drinking bleach and detergent. Are these the people we want voting for our leaders? The brain typically doesn’t mature completely until age 21, affecting the way we think and perceive the world. If our brain development can still be slowed by alcohol, it probably isn’t capable of making good life changing decisions.

Many older Americans don’t feel that teenagers have enough life experience and knowledge to have a say in our nation’s leadership. Only after living on your own and having to make your own choices for several years can one truly understand how the world works enough to vote. Also, teens are more likely to base their decisions on feelings rather than logic and sense, which can lead to misinformation and ignorance. A voter should have financial knowledge, life experience, and work ethic to be able to vote: all traits not commonly possessed by teenagers. For these reasons, the minimum voting age should be raised to 21.