Voting represents both a responsibility and right within a democratic political structure. Voting is viewed as an expression of choice and preference intended to advance an individual’s interests. Additionally, this is also a way through which citizens are able to exercise their core qualities of citizenship in the participation of making rules in the society. However, voting requires that one possess certain qualities. For instance, for a voter to be allowed to cast their votes, they to first attain a minimum age where they can make a rational decision (Harry, 2019).
Additionally, voters should be aware of the option that will appropriately reflect their preferences. Other requisite qualities include identity and membership, rational decision-making, and knowledge of what is beneficial to the citizens. Therefore, age remains the generally accepted way through which a person is believed to attain these qualities, thus their capacity to vote. Throughout history, deciding on the consequent voting age and requisite characteristics has been contentious.
While the legal voting age in the United States is 18, the voting age has led to controversies due to different beliefs about the most appropriate voting age. Some proponents argue that the current voting age should be raised, while others advocate for changing the minimum voting from 18 to 16 years. Most people have questioned the ability of teenagers to make the right choice and their participation in national decisions. The debates for minimum voting age have been tied between the best interest for teenagers and developmental science to examine the most appropriate minimum voting age.
Pro side of the Controversy
Developmental science and political knowledge are strategically positioned to inform that the voting age should be raised since the youths lack the capacity to vote. Considerably, adolescence is a period defined by neurological, physical, and cognitive changes as well as social recognition of various rights and privileges (Silbaugh,2019). With regard, most of the adults have opposed lowering the voting age with the belief that most of the young adults have insufficient political knowledge, cognitive capacity and lack independence, life experience, and interest (Ellie,2011).
Youths between the age of 16 and 18 are entitled to protection and support rather than being exposed to adult expectations and consequences. Ideally, a low voting age undermines the protective commitments that schools, the child welfare system, as well as the justice systemmake to children.Public perception and development science have been the focal point in discussing raising the voting age (Lucas, 2019). Justifications for the most appropriate voting age have been linked to the requisite qualities that are assumed necessary in the civic engagement of youths.
Con side of the Controversy
Raising the voting age denies teens a chance to exercise their voting rights. Teenagers tend to lack a connection with their society if they are deprived of their rights. Relatively, teenagers at 16 are allowed to make their life decisions such as marrying and medical decisions but are not allowed to vote (Wray-Lake, Wilf&Oosterhoff, 2019). Teenagers are required to comply with laws but fail to participate in making the laws. The current generation of youths is more intellectually, emotionally, and physically. Therefore, the youths will be denied their civic participation and engagement in the political process. A higher voting age will reduce the number of votes, thus lowering the voter turnout(Wray-Lake, Wilf & Oosterhoff, 2019). The low numbers indicate that most people are unrepresented. Voting should be considered a right rather than a privilege.
Tentative Thesis Statement
The minimum voting age should be raised since young adults between the age of 16 and 18 years possess inadequate political knowledge, cognitive capacity, independence, life experience as well as interest. For this reason, the minimum voting age should be raised to meet these necessary attributes.
Ellie, L. (2011). The voting age should be raised, not lowered. Retrieved from https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/ellie-levenson-the-voting-age-should-be-raised-not-lowered-5355305.html
Harry Mc. (2019). It’s time to raise the voting age to 21 or older. Retrieved from: https://www.al.com/press-register-commentary/2012/11/its_time_to_raise_the_voting_a.html
Lucas, H. (2019). Voting age should be raised. Available at: https://www.bulldogbulletinonline.com/opinion/2019/05/08/voting-age-should-be-raised/
Silbaugh, K. (2019). Developmental Justice and the Voting Age. Fordham Urb. LJ, 47, 253. Retrieved from: https://scholarship.law.bu.edu/faculty_scholarship/840/
Wray-Lake, L., Wilf, S., & Oosterhoff, B. (2019). Reconsidering the voting age in Los Angeles and California.