She’s a 16-year-old single mother struggling to manage school and pay bills. He’s 17 and juggling two full-time jobs. She is also 17 and was born with a disability that requires a dependence on the government for access to medicine. They are 16 and attend a high school in a district that is in consideration for cuts that would half the yearly education budget.
None of them have the ability to vote for the representatives that make the political decisions that may have a direct impact on their lives.
But, while as perplexing as this seems, it is important to consider the reasons why the minimum voting age is 18.
A common argument against young adults voting, claims them to not be mature enough and lacking in life experiences. Most 16-year-olds, for example, are still required to attend school and often depend on parental support.
However, 16-year-olds still come in contact with the law and thus should have the ability to vote. At age 16 and 17, young adults are able to drive on streets, retain a job, and pay taxes. Many have adult responsibilities like helping their families financially or are even raising children of their own.
In addition, it is their limited experience in life should be viewed as a positive, not a negative. It allows them to take a unique approach to politics. Someone’s perspective on a bill or law should not be considered incorrect, just because they have different experiences than someone else. Allowing young adults to vote would simply invite another perspective to weigh into the policy decisions politicians make.
In fact, there are many adults in the United States who are not qualified to be considered a suitable and educated voter, but no law prohibits them from doing so. There are even some, persuaded by political propaganda and the media, to choose candidates that have views that go against their own interests. Similarly, there are some young adults that actively engage in politics, while there are others that are influenced by the views of their family or friends. But their perspective is uniquely their own.
The United States is a democracy that was founded based on the embracement of all opinions, regardless of what they were or how they were formed. And so, it is time to let the voice of the young adults be heard.