Many studies indicate that teenagers below 18 years have a limited knowledge on politics because of their lack of interest in topical issues. In this regard, raising the voting age in the U.S. to 21 will ensure that electoral decisions are made by individuals with vested interests in the growth and development of their country. Voting is an important process that exposes individuals to an opportunity where they can elect visionary leaders who create policies that benefit the populace (Rowe, 2019). From this realization, bestowing this responsibility to the population group below 18 years seems like a stretch because of their inability to contribute towards the overall growth and development of a nation. Besides, people below 18 years live with their parents who are likely to influence their voting decisions because of their heavy dependence. Therefore, raising the minimum voting age in the U.S. will ensure that the country’s decisions can be made by individuals who have its interests at heart.
During the 2014 Presidential elections, only 12% of the 18-year-olds population voted against a 42% turnout from the rest of the populace. Notably, the low voter turnout among the young people undermines the efforts being made to lower the minimum voting age in the U.S. and other parts of the world. Instead, raising the voting age to 21 will guarantee positive outcomes because of the high voter turnout among individuals above 18 years (Icenogle et al., 2019). In the last 30 years, the voter turnout among 18-year-olds has never surpassed 21%, indicating their lack of interest in the electoral process. From this observation, raising the minimum age to 21 is a process that should be accompanied by voter awareness programs that educate the masses on the voting significance. Hence, educating young people and engaging them in mock elections will ensure the country’s voter population is well informed.
Even though young people below 18 years have demonstrated their interest in lowering the minimum voting age, a majority of the American adult population have expressed a lot of uncertainty regarding the involvement of young people in the voting process. According to a 2019 survey, more than 80% of registered voters in Halifax supported raising the minimum voting age to 21 (Rowe, 2019). Although many individuals prefer the voting age to remain at 18, many adults believe that raising the minimum voting age limit will ensure that the average American voter is well informed and can make independent decisions. From this realization, understanding the different needs of the young people can also influence the overall outcomes in the electoral context. However, educating the young people and sharing insights on the importance of voting can shape their perspectives towards the democratic process. For this reason, observing the impact of the decisions being made in the world today can help shape the future.
Since many young people below 18 years want to participate in the civic engagement, learning institutions can be used to create an enabling environment where children can vote for their leaders. In this regard, the impact of civic engagement programs is evident in a controlled environment such as the school settings where teachers can guide the learners (Eichhorn, 2018). Children can be politically engaged without participating in the national elections. By utilizing the learning framework adopted in schools, it becomes easier to integrate young people in the civic processes. Political outfits such as the Democrats and Republicans can invite school-going children to their forums to witness their operations. By so doing, it becomes easier to inculcate the importance of voting and its impact on a country’s growth and development.
Eichhorn, J. (2018). Mobilisation through early activation and school engagement–the story from Scotland. Journal of Youth Studies, 21(8), 1095-1110.
Icenogle, G., Steinberg, L., Duell, N., Chein, J., Chang, L., Chaudhary, N., … & Bacchini, D. (2019). Adolescents’ cognitive capacity reaches adult levels prior to their psychosocial maturity: Evidence for a “maturity gap” in a multinational, cross-sectional sample. Law and human behavior, 43(1), 69.
Rowe, J. E. (2019, August). The benefits and limitations of voting mechanisms in evolutionary optimisation. In Proceedings of the 15th ACM/SIGEVO Conference on Foundations of Genetic Algorithms (pp. 34-42).
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