During this semester, I am taking the honors-level version of a state-mandated civics and economics class at my school. The class is quite interesting, and it involves a lot of open dicussion and thought.
On Tuesday, the teacher assigned a fun project in which we were to write a mock state referendum concerning a state issue. I decided to do my argument on lowering the voting age from 18 to 16.
That night, I used reasons given on NYRA’s website and from my own personal experience about why lowering the voting age is essential. I stated reasons such as youth working and paying income taxes and other taxes, how youth are held to a lot of the same standards as adults, and etc.
On Wednesday, the day of the presentation, I delivered my referendum. In order for it to be approved, the majority of General Assembly (the class) had to support it. Much to my delight and surprise, 11 out of 15 members of the class signed their support. Even my teacher was voicing her support and stating all of the reasons why she felt it should be lowered.
One of my reasons I included was the “[The current voting age is the] familiar concept of ‘no taxation without representation.'” The teacher was ecstatic at this connection I made.
Other students had referendums about lowering the driving age to 15 (In North Carolina, the unrestricted age is 16.5). While there was one on about raising the driving age, it did not have any support whatsoever. Another referendum was about lowering the drinking age to 18 (actually two people had referendums about that). Both youth rights-friendly proposal passed.
I am quite pleased with the turnouts of these mock discussions. It is encouraging to know that there are actually other youth and even teachers out there who care about youth rights.