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Are You Ready to Vote?

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Are You Ready to Vote?

An example of a ballot.

An example of a ballot.

Kristen Tang

An example of a ballot.

Kristen Tang

Kristen Tang

An example of a ballot.

Kristen Tang, Staff Writer

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Recently, survivors of the Parkland, Florida shooting have started to speak out about gun control and the need for government intervention. This has led people to question the voting age. CNN writer, Joshua Douglas, believes that the Parkland students show why 16 year olds should be able to vote. He says, “The real adults in the room are the youth from Parkland, Florida…They are proving that civic engagement among young people can make a difference.”

The Washington Post reported on Charles Allen, a district lawmaker, who wants to lower the voting age to 16. The Post says that he was inspired by the high schoolers who were campaigning for gun control and protesting in Washington.  Allen sees teens as “powerful, thoughtful, and leading.” He believes that teens can make informed decisions just like anyone else. Supporting this is Laurence Steinberg, a psychology professor who has written for The New York Times on this matter. He states, “By that age [16], adolescents can gather and process information, weigh pros and cons, reason logically with facts and take time before making a decision.”

Not everyone agrees with this idea. According to The Washington Post, the biggest concern related to lowering the voting age is the maturity of 16 year olds, and if they are responsible enough. Cottonwood sophomore, Sarah Smedberg agrees. She tells Colt Roundup, “I do not think voting at the age of 16 is a good idea, because at that age you shouldn’t have to worry about having to vote, you should be able to wait until you are a full adult and know more about how the world works.”

Austin Frank, a writer for Today in Politics, feels similarly. He says that people will end up voting just for the sake of it and that people need to be more informed about how voting works. Frank goes on to say that one of the reasons for lowering the voting age is that it will bring voter participation rates up, which is a good thing. Also, he adds that most people simply don’t vote. They give the excuse of, “I don’t vote because my one vote isn’t going to change anything.”

Another Cottonwood student, Valerie Silva says, “I personally do not think it would be very smart to change the voting age to 16. There are teens out there that won’t take the elections seriously and even now people do not take it seriously. Remember when people voted in Harambe as a write in president? That was a mess.” Frank agrees that 16 years old are too immature and don’t know enough about politics.

Despite conflicting opinions, the lowering the voting age is being considered by the government. The Root reports that Charles Allen has indeed brought the bill to D.C. Will changing the voting age to 16 be good for the country or should it stay the same?

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Are You Ready to Vote?