16 Is The New 18

Every four years the American public prepares for the always entertaining and important presidential election. The country comes together to decide by majority vote the person believed best suited to lead the most powerful country in the world. However, not everyone is included in this all important decision. The twenty-sixth amendment requires each citizen be a legal adult, age eighteen, to vote in any election whether it be presidential, congressional, or just district. The amendment does not take into consideration how the newly elected leaders will affect teenagers who had zero input in electing them. Because they are directly impacted from actions of the American government, the voting age in the United States should be decreased for those teens to have a say.

In the United States, the youth is eligible to partake in various adult activities. By sixteen teenagers can drive, work, pay taxes. At seventeen one can even enlist in the military and be transported overseas to fight in volatile battle in defense of the country. Despite all of this, teenagers are still considered too young to vote. The twenty-sixth amendment was ratified thus lowering the minimum voting age in the U.S from twenty-one to eighteen. This was primarily due to two major ideas. The first uttered by former president Franklin D. Roosevelt that “Old enough to fight, old enough to vote.” This meaning that since men could be drafted into the military at age eighteen, they were able to handle such responsibility as voting. Roosevelt’s slogan became popular during the youth voting movement.

The second idea being that by lowering the voting age, there would a greater voter turnout. This would allow more representation and opinions in elections. Richard Nixon once stated at a White House ceremony, “The reason I believe that your generation, the 11 million new voters, will do so much for America at home is that you will infuse into this nation some idealism, some courage, some stamina, some high moral purpose, that this country always needs.” This idea lead congress to pass the amendment. Voter turnout amongst the youth has proven vital in the presidential election. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, young voters (age 18 to 24) were the only group to show a statistically significant increase in turnout in 2008, despite an overall increase of some 5 million voters. In fact, The 2008 presidential election of Barack Obama saw a voter turnout of some 49 percent of 18- to 24 year-olds, the second highest in history. This clearly shows the vital impact young voters can have on elections as well as there need to vote. History has shown that while growing maturity and responsibility teenagers in these sixteen to seventeen range are old enough to vote.

When new leaders are chosen, they are given the great responsibility of implementing ideas that are meant to better the country and every citizen in it. Different politicians have different agendas, and it’s up to the public to decide which agenda will be most effective not just for the individual person, but for the majority of the public. The youth are directly impacted by these decisions that they aren’t apart of. Anything that policy makers implement will affect the youth who had zero opportunity to effectively voice their opinion and have adequate say. Even though many youth have opinions on policies and what should be done to fix not only the major issues within the country, but also the daily problems are legally quieted by the constitution.

This way of voting is not a true and complete representation as a large portion of the country does not have legal say. Other countries have implemented laws that allow for those sixteen and above to vote in different elections. For example, In Scotland, where 16- and 17-year-olds were eligible to vote in the independence referendum in 2014, an impressive three-quarters of those who registered turned out on the day, compared with 54% of 18- to 24-year-olds. In 2007 Austria became the only rich country where 16-year-olds could vote in all elections. If this is being allowed in other countries with consistently great turnouts, that more reason for the United States to decrease the voting age. Not only is it allowing representation for a wider range of people, it also connects to the previous point that voter turnout would increase significantly.

The United States has built its entire political system on the idea of democracy and fair say all. Every citizen has the right to one vote in any electoral vote in selecting who the new county, state, and national leaders will be. However, a large portion of people with valid opinions are being neglected their input. Teenagers, specifically sixteen and seventeen are knowledgeable enough and will be impacted just as much as legal adults. Because of this it only makes sense that they should be legally allowed to vote. If America wants to pride itself on democracy, then it must truly value and accept the input from all of those willing and eligible to give it.

Work Cited:

"Top Ten Reasons to Lower the Voting Age." Top Ten Reasons to Lower the Voting Age. National Youth Rights Association, 2016. Web. 01 May 2017.

History.com Staff. "The 26th Amendment." History.com. A&E Television Networks, 2010. Web. 01 May 2017.

Why this is my best 2fer

I consider the 2fer to be my best or a good 2fer to end the year with because it reflects a cause that I firmly support, and allows me to inject a lot of opinions. Whereas some of my past 2fers have been on things that I found online or topics that I found interesting. This 2fer centers on an idea that I think should become a reality. I got to learn more information concerning why the voting age in the United States is eighteen, but also more information to support my claims that it should be lowered. I enjoyed writing this 2fer the most because it allowed my actual voice to come through so that it wasn’t just another essay. This 2fer is my best it was written well, had a unique topic that I cared about, and the most effort was put into it.