A Change to Voting Age


On November 8, 2022, registered voters in the state of California received their ballot to cast their vote for the California General Election. Who were these registered voters? Adults of course, but have you ever thought of sophomores and juniors included?

After the recent midterm elections, the question is rising if the voting age for citizens in the United States should be lowered. Currently, the voting age for an American citizen is 18 and older, but some are considering the contributions that younger citizens could offer to the elections. 

Due to the fact that most teens take on many adult responsibilities, it would make sense to also give them the adult right to vote. And while some might claim that teenagers might not have the knowledge necessary to participate in these elections, research shows otherwise.  A study mentioned in Vote16USA, a website established to lower the voting age on a local level, found no significant changes in the qualities needed to vote between people over the age of 18, and younger than the age of 18. Additionally, “cold cognition” which is the decision-making process involved when voting, matures by the age of 16, meaning people this age will have the right skills when going through the voting process. 

Furthermore, voting at a young age will strengthen and grow civics education among teenagers dramatically. Allowing younger teens to vote will increase the amount of civic engagement from students, and schools could implement more advanced civics programs. Nationwide, teens are taking action by protesting, sharing their ideas on social media, and talking to high leaders of authority. However, Lauren Steinberg, a psychology professor from Temple University in Pennsylvania quoted by Scholastic says these teens still “cannot vote to elect leaders who could act on the issues they care about.” 

It may seem too young an age to vote when 16, but teenagers throughout the country have established mature political ideas and have mature mindsets for making these kinds of important decisions. Furthermore, political issues impact not only adults but kids as well, so giving more voices a right to vote will be more inclusive to the younger group of people still affected by local and federal issues throughout the country.