Should 16 year olds be able to vote?

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Courtesy of M. Kirwin

Maggie Kirwin, Social Media Editor

It’s Oct. 27: one week away from Election Day. As you log in to Instagram, your feed is flooded with political posts about Donald Trump or Joe Biden and why one should win over the other. You assume it is college kids and Millenials posting these things, but to your surprise, it’s teenagers.

Although 2020 has been a year filled with so many bad things, one good thing to come out of it is young people getting more involved in politics. With so many teenagers on both sides of the political spectrum getting involved, the question of whether or not the voting age should be lowered to 16 comes up. 

While a decent amount of teenagers do stay politically active and pay attention to what is going, not all do. 

 “The last election, there’s a lot of names and not a lot of research into what the actual candidates are fighting for or fighting against. There’s a lot of stigma against Donald Trump and Joe Biden just based on the names instead of actually paying attention to what they actually want to change and what they want to do for the country,” junior Sam Cielak said. 

Many kids are heavily influenced by their parents’ political beliefs. Instead of going out and doing their own research, they just listen to the biased opinion of their parents. If not all teenagers pay attention and get informed on both sides of the political spectrum, their vote will just be biased. 

One of the main reasons the legal voting age is 18 is because you’re officially an adult. You are out of high school, starting a career, or going to college or trade school. 

“I don’t think they’re involved as much in the real world that they would have [their own] knowledge of how it really affects them, as much as it affects people over 18 who are starting to live on their own and [go] to college,” Cielak said. 

Once you get out of high school, most 18-year-olds get to experience the effects of the economy, health care, or the struggles of finding a job, all things most 16-year-olds don’t have to experience by themselves. A majority of 16-year-olds don’t have to deal with the policies of a presidential candidate by themselves, so they should not be able to vote at such a young age. 

Although, some may argue that young people get themselves more in politics than some adults. This past year, a Black lives Matter protest was held in Huntley Square, where a vast majority of protestors were high school students. 

“Many 16-year-olds have involved themselves in political protests,” junior Arielle Rudas said.“I lowering the voting age to 16 could potentially lead to a long-term increase in voter turnout, and strengthen civics education.” 

It comes down to the fact that it is assumed that most 18-year-olds will pay more attention to the world around them. So, even if you are a politically involved teen now, you’ll just have to wait until you’re 18 when more of your classmates are educated and immersed in the real world.