In Ohio’s presidential primary recently, 17-year-olds were permitted to vote. That’s unusual because the voting age in the United States is 18. But during this election campaign, some people want to change the voting rules. In Ohio, a judge ruled that 17-year-olds who turn 18 before the November 8 general election can vote. Several groups, including Generation Citizen, want local governments to permit all 16- and 17-year-olds to vote. Generation Citizen argues that lowering the voting age will increase interest in government and politics. “A lower voting age would involve parents, teachers, and community members in the process of learning to vote, and ultimately voting themselves, raising adult voter turnout,” said Oliver York, age 16. He is a junior at a San Francisco high school and working with Generation Citizen’s “Vote 16 USA Campaign.”
Arguments against lowering the voting age include: 16- and 17-year-olds are not mature enough and would vote the way their parents do. Here is what one person wrote on the website debate.org: “It’s simply the fact that people at 16-17-years-old don’t have the emotional or mental maturity of someone 20-years-old. Their minds are still crazed with the chemicals of being a teenager.”
Professor Daniel Hart of Rutgers University has studied the arguments on both sides of the voting-age issue. He found knowledge of 16- or 17-year-olds about government is about the same as for 18- and 19-year olds. There is fall off for 15-year-olds, he said.
A University of Edinburgh study found many 16- and 17-year-olds do not vote like their parents. The study reported that 40 percent of these younger voters did not vote the same way as mom and dad in Scotland’s 2014 independence referendum.
Full Article: Are Teenagers Mature Enough to Vote?.