In the United Kingdom there is a movement, or at least some talk, to lower the voting age to 16. Now, in the United States we are in the midst of an election year, which also makes the topic relevant. The arguments for changing the voting age from 18 years old to 16 years old are many. They argue 16 year olds can drive a car, in some places they can get married, they can have children, they can join the military, etc… So why can’t they make a decision about who should lead the country they live in?
I’ve been thinking about this topic for the last several weeks, trying to figure out where I stand on the issue. I think at 16 I would have been all about being given the vote. But now, I don’t think a 16 year old has the wherewithal to make in informed decision on this issue.
Talk to most teenagers and you will find they have the same opinions as their peers and their parents on most issues. They spout things they hear at home as if they are fact without doing their own research. This doesn’t allow them make an informed decision.
Most teenagers don’t know much about healthcare, the economy, taxes, or education. They go to high school day in and day out. They study American and British literature, they study world history and the basics of Biology. They don’t delve much into current issues. They don’t know what its like to pay for your own healthcare. Even with a part-time job, they don’t see a large portion of their paycheck taken away in taxes. And most of them don’t know what it means to pay for your own living expenses.
As I debated this, I started asking high schoolers and every single one told me they didn’t want the vote. They didn’t want the burden. They didn’t think they were smart enough to make an informed decision. And, perhaps even more telling, they didn’t care.
Sixteen year olds voting? I’m not casting my ballot for that one.