Friday, September 19, 2003

Voting Age

Today, standing in a very long line at Wendy's, I read this article on ABCNews regarding lowering the voting age from 18 to 16. Proponents say that many teens work and pay taxes, and then they play the "taxation without representation" card. Detractors say teens don't have as much at stake in elections, and that they don't have enough experience to make an "educated decision."

I would think your average teen is probably more informed about politics than your average adult. After all, they re probably sitting in a government class for 40 minutes a day, talking about the process and, if there teacher is worth anything, talking about current events. Versus the average adult who gets their information from the 15 seconds of news during a "Fear Factor" commercial break, the wacky morning deejay who says democracy's a joke or good ol' political ads.

The article points out that, in Baltimore, where the city voting age is 16, only about 2,400 teens registered to vote, and of them only 35% made it to the polls ... about the same turnout as adults.

Also, think of how much it would change the political landscape for such issues as education, minimum wage, birth control in schools, the war on (and legalization of) drugs, gun control, copyright and file sharing laws. I think it would be very hard for anyone to say that teens don't have a stake in these issues.

Of course, if at sixteen you can vote, have a job and drive, are you a minor anymore? Should your parents still be legally responsible for you? Would you still be required to finish high school?

blog comments powered by Disqus