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BladeWinterSnow

Should the Voting Age be Lowered?

As many of you might already know, the voting age being lowered to 16 has been a topical issue in the UK for quite some time now.

I personally think the voting should be lowered. The reason I think this is because thanks to the rise of the Internet and social media, 16 and 17 year olds now know a lot more about politics than past generations would have. Many young people now have strong political opinions and should be allowed to express them. Also, they are the generation that are going to be the biggest group affected by any changes put into place.

What do you think?

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Posted (edited)

I don't agree that the youth of the USA today know more about politics than their elders. What the Internet has given them is knowledge of opinions, not knowledge of facts. I don't feel schools do enough at educating today, especially when you take into consideration that current politics determines the level of education. (Look at who runs school boards and how their members are picked.)

Americans are simply not as educated as the British. The latter has had a better education system by far for decades while ours has deteriorated. I was lucky to get into high school Latin classes in 1975. It was no longer offered in 1976. Latin has been taught in British schools for as long as I've been reading about their level of education (decades.) (Learning Latin is good not only for improved language skills in the Romance Languages, but also useful in the medical and science fields.)

The British can easily lower their voting age. What we need to do is leave ours where it's at, but make Voting Day a national/federal paid-holiday. That way, more people can vote, especially those currently under the thumb of employers unwilling to give time off for their employees' national duty. We don't take voting seriously enough in this country.

Edited by Gryneos
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I say lower it to 16 AND do what Gryneos said about making voting day a holiday

AND better the education system.

I don't feel too strongly about this issue, but lean more towards lowering it.

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Posted (edited)

I do think the voting age should be lowered, going off if younger people do understand and have their own opinions on it, but then that could be said for any generation. Not everyone votes now, so that isn't an issue. Lowering the UK voting age may increase the amount of people that vote, although even then we could still have narrow wins/loses with the larger pool. Voting isn't mandatory, so if it was lowered, they're not really obligated to vote, no-one is. We can't say for definite that it'll be a good or bad idea, I mean look at how the vote for Brexit turned out, people were still annoyed over it even now, but then if they can start learning for their provisional license, then maybe it shows that they can have a say by voting. Yes, 16 may be seen as 'immature' to someone who's 18, but they might have better ideas or better views. 

Edited by Mirath
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I feel the voting age should be raised! Joking of course, if you can enlist and fight for the country you should have a say in the leadership.

That being said, I argue that the youth these days "think" that they better understand politics than generations past. They, however, largely have lesser and lesser actual knowledge of politics and how they work from a legal standpoint. I would wish more understood the construction of government, the separation of powers and the dangerous line between liberty and tyranny, including soft tyranny.

I really never want to see a future for the US like the present in Venezuela where college students who are holding assemblies to ask to vote for leaders and a more republican form of government are being executed, imprisoned or never heard from again. 

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Posted (edited)

I would think that anyone of any age should be given the chance to demonstrate their ability to make informed decisions and, thus, right to vote.

Here's a recent news article of an 11 year old who scored higher on an IQ test, thats known to be difficult to pass, than Steven Hawkins and Albert Einstein.

https://futurism.com/an-11-year-old-boy-scored-higher-in-an-iq-test-than-albert-einstein-and-stephen-hawking/

This is obviously unusual but I think it does show that some kids are capable of making informed decision. Of course, the opposite is also true. Some people above the age of 18 cannot do so.

I'm not in favor of banning anyone from voting but I'd like them to be educated in terms of how to think critically before being allowed to vote, for the reason that every vote counts.

Edited by j3ss3
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Seems I'm in the minority here. I don't think the voting age should be lowered. Most certainly I am not saying people under the age of 18 aren't capable of making informed decisions on the future of their country, but I strongly believe the younger a person is, it doesn't matter about their knowledge, they are more easily swayed by emotions over experience. And when it comes to something as important as voting for a new government, acting upon emotion can produce horrific results. I agree with much of what Terro has already said. 

There's a reason the phrase "respect your elders" exists. And while it is true they do not always know what is best and "times change" (before anyone says anything about that), but they have experience of politics and world events that a mere child could never have. This is diverging slightly, but I've seen so much growing disrespect from the younger generations towards the elder generations, it leaves a sour taste in my mouth.  Could I trust such easily emotional people to make an important decisions as a whole? I think not. 

To add to this, the younger generation have had a tendency not to give a damn about voting. In fact, it wasn't until the most recent election younger people actually made a surge in bothering to vote. Younger people are less likely to care about politics unless someone gives them incentive. Arguably, without a strong incentive like the last election gave them they could care less and that's the statistics talking. Lowering the voting age might make a few people vote, but more likely there'll be a bunch of people who have the opportunity but don't use it. 

There is little to no political education within our schools, I know when I was still under the voting age my knowledge and the knowledge of the vast majority of my classmates was minimal (and this was not all too long ago, I'm not an old fogey by any means). We were easily distracted by false promises parties make, not looking into the economical side, the legal side, the factual side. It's only with experience that one begins to see that these enticing "promises" are often no more than a piece of bait for the general public. 

While being 18 isn't a perfect age for voting, it's definitely my preferred age limit. It isn't too young and it isn't too old and it gives time to educate oneself on politics with a more mature view. Again that isn't to say younger people can't be educated and willing, but they lack that experience. Even at just two years lower at the age of 16 I'm skeptical about one's readiness to vote on such an important aspect of the future. 

Remember, from a biological standpoint the brain is still developing. It might just be two years, but at that age two years = a lot of development and "maturing" going on. 

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There is an old phrase in the US, if you're 18 and Republican, you have no heart. If you're 35 or more and a democrat, you have no brain.

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Of all the things wrong with voting in the US, I find the voting age to be low on that list. I think it's fine where it's at, pretty much because of what @Ashenfall said about brain development and maturity. I'd also like to add personal identity into that mix because very few at that age have a solid foundation on their identity, let alone politics. Some do, and that's great, but they are few and far between.

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Pretty much everything I wanted to say was already said by Ashen, but yeah, personally I believe that the voting age is fine as it is. The majority of people under the age of 18 that I have met still very much base their opinions and actions around their immediate emotions towards the subject than around the logic and future consequences of the issue. A lot of teenagers also still seem to hold onto the mentality from school that they must put themselves in boxes, and that these boxes are the most important part of their identity. An important thing to understand about politics before you get involved is that it is not black and white. You do not have to agree with everything typically left or typically right, it's about what is best overall rather than what party's name is in the box you tick. Our education system has an incredibly black and white, right and wrong method of teaching as it is, I think it's healthy to give people time outside of that environment adapting to the ambiguity of the real world before they can fully understand the nature of politics and before they are emotionally mature enough to make such important decisions.

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I agree about the emotions of younger people swaying them negatively as potential voters. And I hate to sound like everybody's parents, but you'll make better decisions the older you get. No, not on every decision, but on those that rely on experience, which only comes with age, and emotional maturity.

Yes, there are anomalies, those people who are emotionally mature at age-12, and those who are intellectually mature at age-12, or whatever. But they are just that: anomalies. They are the extremes of the Bell Curve. They don't elect people to office; the averages do.

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No, I don't think it should be lowered. Yes, there are some who are under 18 who can make mature decisions, who research their choices and who know more than most adults. Those are the outliers, not the majority. People who are under 18 are legally still under the care and supervision of their parents, for the most part. There are exceptions to everything, but the exceptions aren't the point. A minor very likely would feel pressured to vote the way their parents, or their community, or their friends, wanted. That's still a thing that happens with adults, but you have to draw the line somewhere. 

In fact, the major thing stopping me from recommending a raise in voting age is the military. If you're old enough to be sent to war, you're definitely old enough to vote about it. I also think that if you're old enough to be sent to war, you should also be old enough to drink. Is 18 old enough to be sent to war though? 

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43 minutes ago, Shezep said:

Is 18 old enough to be sent to war though? 

I don't know if that's too young to be sent to war, but I do think the US's low driving-age should be raised. I just read this fine article in Road & Track about Driver's Education and training in the US compared to elsewhere: Overwhelmed and Undertrained

I always knew we were woefully inadequate in that kind of education, and wish I could have the kind of training kids get in Europe. And I've been driving for forty years ;-)

At the same time, if any of these age-limited things for kids had the same kind rigorous training as they are likely to get in military service, maybe we wouldn't have a problem with lowering ages for some things. Even so, some, like voting, remain emotion-based in addition to intellect-based, and simply require more maturity to make good decisions. Hitting a target doesn't take much intellect or emotion. (I know this having taken US military exams; possibly the easiest I have had outside of high school.)

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This might be a tangent, but the brain continues to develop well into the 20s and different parts "mature" at different rates, and of course individuals are different. The most common claim I've seen so far says 25 is when it's fully grown, but those numbers vary. And that the "decision making" part is one of those that isn't fully developed until the 20s.

The voting age was actually 21 up until the 26th amendment happened.

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On 7/9/2017 at 4:10 PM, Gryneos said:

I don't agree that the youth of the USA today know more about politics than their elders. What the Internet has given them is knowledge of opinions, not knowledge of facts. I don't feel schools do enough at educating today, especially when you take into consideration that current politics determines the level of education. (Look at who runs school boards and how their members are picked.

While I do agree that the United States' educational systems ("systems" plural, as they're all separate entities run by local/state governments) are terrible at teaching very basic skills like critical thought, the inability to tell fact from opinion is hardly limited to youth.  Statistically, the vast majority of the U.S.'s youth would have elected an old, progressive Jewish senator from Vermont to the presidency-- one who gives high value to critical thought and empathy towards the less-fortunate.  The swath of older people who voted were bouncing back and forth between a centrist kinda-sorta democrat who is past her prime, and a diluted and narcissistic whack-job who looks down his nose at the idea of critical thought and who reminds me of a single, misshapen Cheeto.  They swung the election in favor of the latter.

Give the youth the vote.  I'm all for 16, especially in the UK.

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9 minutes ago, AreioWolf said:

Statistically, the vast majority of the U.S.'s youth would have elected an old, progressive Jewish senator from Vermont to the presidency

Key words here: "would have"

That is, not enough of them did vote in order to swing the election to the best candidate. But again, that statistic is only for those of voting age, and older. I'm all for keeping the age where it's at and making Election Day a national, federal holiday. Making it a federal holiday then makes it a mandatory holiday for employers.

The other thing that could be done with Election Day would be to extend the hours. After looking, I see that in the UK polls open at 7 am like they do here. But then, they don't close until 10 pm. We close ours at 7 pm. Twelve hours isn't enough, especially when some people do work twelve hours at a time, and then have to go stand in long lines just to vote.

Part of the issue with long lines as well has to do with some questionable decisions on the number of voting precincts. Wealthier areas often get more places to vote than poorer areas. Honestly, I wish we could standardize voting across all states, especially when it comes to national elections. There are just too many rules, laws, and other variables state to state that cause problems for people trying to vote. Voting age doesn't measure up as a problem in comparison. Voting is too important to leave how it's done to each state.

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6 minutes ago, Gryneos said:

...not enough of them did vote in order to swing the election to the best candidate.

True, though much more than this affected the outcome of the election.  If more states had open primaries and if the democratic party had gotten behind him, Mr. Sanders would have easily beaten Mr. Cheeto in the general election.  Hell, if our education system... if the public paid more attention to policy than ad-hominem attacks... if our two party system wasn't... okay.  This could go on for a while.  Too many examples of how the U.S.'s system is flawed.  I'm just going to leave it at that.  :smilewolf:

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Well, I could give my opinion of how the Dems handled their own primary, and the dirty tricks involved, but I'm not going to get into that here ;-)

I still think that voting should not fall under "States Rights." There are plenty of federal things that happen in all states and where it's under federal control only (such as the military.) Why should we allow the states to mess up the voting system, as they already have? I don't agree that the voting age needs to be lowered, only that we need to revamp the whole voting process. As it stands now, it's a big hot mess.

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