Why America Should Raise Her Voting Age

Voting refers to the process of making collective decisions and expressing opinions in a meeting or a group after discussions, debates and election campaigns. Voting is a responsibility and a right for every individual in a country with democratic political structures. The voting process facilitates choice and preference expression in the search for individual interests. The practice also helps citizens to participate actively in their societies without manipulation or dictatorship. In most nations, the age acceptable for a person to participate in the elections is 18 years. However, age bracket has become a serious issue in some nations, with some claiming they should raise the minimum voting years. On the contrary, others feel that raising the voting years will violate the democratic rights of teenagers to participate in elections. In the United States, where the minimum voting age is 18 years, the voting age is gaining momentum as controversies erupt, with some members claiming that the voting years should increase. In contrast, others suggest that the voting years should be lowered to 16 years (Wagner et al., 2012). Although other people are defensive on reducing the voting years in the United States, the minimum voting age should be raised since citizens aged 16 and 18 years have little essential political knowledge, cognitive capacity, life experience and independence.

Literature Review


Voting is a critical civic duty that should be undertaken by individuals to elect their preferred leaders who can create opportunities for wealth creation. During any election, politicians and civic educators emphasize the importance of voting and outline the benefits that accrue when citizens participate in the democratic exercise. Even though many individuals are aware about the significance of voting, a large section of the American population disregard its importance due to the emergence of various perceptions that hinder their focus towards life and other elements of society. However, a lot of focus is directed towards the Presidential elections because of its accumulated interests that influence the overall perspectives of individuals towards the voting process. Likewise, the minimum voting age has become a contentious issue because of the different positions adopted by individuals regarding the best approach that can be used to accomplish desired outcomes. This literature review will provide an history of voting to expose individuals to an environment where they can appreciate the strides that have been made to securing this freedom. In the same vein, this section will provide a list of the advantages associated with raising the minimum age, as opposed to lowering it. It will also highlight the negative impact of the move on American democracy.

Historical Background

Unlike today where persons above 18 years can vote, it was not a default right to every American in the medieval world. Women and young people were outlawed by previous regimes that relied heavily on certain sections within the constitutional framework to implement their interests. In its original form, the U.S. Constitution did not specify who could vote and who could not, a move that provided the states with an opportunity to undermine women, African-Americans, and other vulnerable groups by barring them from voting. However, the U.S. Constitution had a clear guideline that stipulated the voting patterns and the entire process, which should be used to oversee the American elections. Over the years, amendments were made to incorporate the disadvantaged groups barred from voting in the election process (Whitehead, Perry, & Baker, 2018). Today, the conversation on who should be allowed to vote has resumed and now targets the young people, whom are believed to lack the capacity to make informed voting decisions.


Proponents of raising the minimum voting age argue believe that reviewing the limit will provide young people with an opportunity to make informed decisions during the voting process. Many of the young people are mostly apolitical and usually uninterested in political conversations and as such, any forward-thinking politician can mislead them into voting for their preferred candidate who might not be the best option for the country (Peto, 2018). Unlike adults who can make informed decisions without yielding to any external pressure, young people can be easily convinced and persuaded to make the wrong choices. Instead, the country should focus on developing policies that encourage more individuals to participate in the voting process.

However, existing studies have recommended raising the minimum age limit to create an opportunity where the country is free from any rushed decisions. By reviewing the minimum voting age upwards, it provides the country with an opportunity to redeem itself from bad leadership and governance (Oosterhoff, Wray-Lake, & Hart, 2021). At the same time, raising the minimum voting limit will create a smooth transition for the population group to step out of their comfort zone and make informed decisions due to their exposure to adult expectations and experiences. Therefore, adjusting the minimum voting age is viewed as a potentially rewarding decision that can protect the country from misinformation.


Young people are supposed to learn by being involved in actual decisions that have a huge impact on their future. Neglecting their willingness to learn through voting participation poses a societal problem where they might lose interest to elect their preferred leaders when they become of age. Importantly, raising the minimum voting age limit denies teenagers their democratic right to vote as upstanding citizens in their country (Wagner, Johann, & Kritzinger, 2012). It should be noted that the current generation of young people is more informed due to the increased access to information, which has been facilitated by the emergence of innovative communication platforms and the internet. Regardless of the decision that will made on the topical issue, policymakers should consider the views of the young people by creating an enabling environment that encourages them to voice their concerns.

Importantly, the approach of amending the minimum voting age limit should not be guided by a desire to undermine the position of the young people in the American context. From this observation, young people in the modern world are capable of making informed decisions because of their constant exposure to voting information, which influences their perspectives towards life and other aspects of society. Besides, raising the voting age limit will not only discourage young people from participating in the voting process but will also affect the overall voter turnout because of the hardliner positions adopted by individuals either in support or against the proposed changes.


In conclusion, voting is an essential practice in society since it determines the policies and guiding principles in a nation. The voting process requires consciousness from the participants of the election to ensure that they are responsible for their decisions. The minimum voting age of many nations, including the United States, is 18 years, increasing. A lower voting age would allow the youths to exercise their voting rights and facilitate their national political representation. However, a lower age would allow voting participants who have insufficient political knowledge and little cognitive ability, limiting their ability to make an informed choice. It is, therefore, necessary to increase the minimum voting age from 18 to a higher age to allow for the participation of people with informed judgment hence preventing manipulation from other people. Finally, a higher voting age would ensure children’s protection from injustices.




Oosterhoff, B., Wray-Lake, L., & Hart, D. (2021). Reconsidering the Minimum Voting Age in the United States. https://psyarxiv.com/xy7ph/

Peto, T. (2018). Why the voting age should be lowered to 16. Politics, Philosophy & Economics17(3), 277-297. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1470594X17705651

Wagner, M., Johann, D., & Kritzinger, S. (2012). Voting at 16: Turnout and the quality of vote choice. Electoral Studies31(2), 372-383. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0261379412000212

Whitehead, A. L., Perry, S. L., & Baker, J. O. (2018). Make America Christian again: Christian nationalism and voting for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. Sociology of Religion79(2), 147-171.

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