16 Year Olds May Be Allowed to Vote?
We are lectured to by many that people younger than 18 and some even the age of 21 are not old enough to decide if they want to smoke, drink, have sex and buy a gun but some think they are mature enough to vote.
Thehill.com is reporting about the Washington District of Columbia (D.C.) council that may actually allow 16 year olds the ability to vote in federal and local elections at the age of 16. WUSA-TV is reporting that 7 of the 13 members of the D.C. Council are backing this proposal.
The 26th amendment states:
The right of citizens of the United States, who are 18 years of age or older, to vote, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of age.
It does not address those who are under the age of 18 but it does states those who are 18 years or older do have the right to vote.
Today in the United States, citizens attain the right to vote at the age of 18. As stated above the minimum voting age was established by the 26th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which was ratified in 1971. Because of this amendment states are prohibited from adopting higher minimum voting ages. However, some states permit 17-year-olds to vote in primary elections if they will turn 18 by the time of the subsequent general election. There are some cities that have extend voting rights in municipal elections, but as I stated above the District of Columbia is treated as a state in some cases, and can, therefore, change the voting age to allow 16 and 17-year-olds to vote for President of the United States in addition to local elections.
An article in Thehill.com reports on this development and states that:
Because Washington, D.C., is considered in some cases a state, it can change the voting age for federal elections as well as local elections. The voting age in the country was last changed in 1971 when people 18 years old and older were granted the right to vote.
The question I have is; should U.S. citizens of such a young age be able to vote? Do they have the mental capacity to make mature, well-informed decisions and understand all of the consequences that will occur if they are allowed to vote? At such young ages most of their decisions are made by emotion and not intellect. They just do not have the intellect in most cases to make that informed decision.
Some would state that there are plenty of U.S. citizens who do not have the mental capacity to make mature, well-informed decisions and understand all of the consequences that will occur when they vote. I understand that argument but an age limit must be used as a first qualifier.
The question on whether to allow children under the age of 18 to vote is a question based on what is the qualification to vote. We cannot come up with a test to determine if someone has the capacity to vote unless there are deemed by professionals that they do not have the mental capacity to vote, I do not know many people who would actually support some sort of test.
Today the same people who believe that children under the age of 18 have the mental capacity to make mature, well-informed decisions and understand all of the consequences to vote do not have the mental capacity to make mature, well-informed decisions and decide if they want to smoke, drink alcohol, have sex, buy a gun or join the military. The question is why, how do they make that distinction?
In Thehill.com article Alisha Chopra, 18, who is a senior at School Without Walls is quoted saying:
I think people are getting excited about this, especially with what's going on in the nation right now in terms of youth leading social change. So I think that people are going to be very excited about it and want to get on board.
I question why this voting age issue is gaining popularity among the Liberal ideology. My thought is due to the fact that they are losing their voting base due to their extreme ideology and the policies that come from that ideology