Is age just a number?

The election is right around the corner and all around people are figuring out who is going to run their country best. Hearing people’s views on each of the candidates is very interesting, especially when different people bring up similar topics with different opinions. I was talking to my neighbor when he asked me if I had the choice to vote who would I vote for. This struck me as I did not realize how differently my opinion mattered in the election process. The opinions I have formed about each of the candidates really does not matter because of my age. Yes, of course, I am still entitled to my own opinions, but they do not go anywhere because I do not have the right to vote yet. I am curious as to why people who are just 3 years older than me can vote, yet I cannot. What is the difference between an 18 year old and a 16 year old? Does the 2-3 years of age truly impact someones ability to make a decision? 18 is the age where someone is legally allowed to fight for our country, so they should be allowed to vote at that age as well. But, if they could fight at any age, what do you think the proper age to start voting is? Why was 18 chosen to be the year that important decisions could be made? Is it young, old or just right?

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7 Responses to Is age just a number?

  1. lcharpentier2013 says:

    It is interesting that you bring this up because yesterday my family was discussing the voting age as well. It is a hard topic to debate because eighteen is the age one is lawfully considered an adult, but I believe an eighteen year old is not quite old enough to be able to vote. My reasoning is that when someone is eighteen years old usually they do not have to support themselves, pay taxes, and have little to no concept of the amount of work put into receiving a good income. It is easy for those who are eighteen to form opinions on social issues, but they do not have the knowledge to make decisions regarding taxes and other economic issues because they simply have not experienced paying taxes and supporting themselves at all. Others can argue that if someone is legally and adult, then they should have the right to vote. But if this logic is used, than an eighteen year old should be allowed to buy themselves alcohol as well because legally this person is an adult.

  2. Dr. K says:

    Interesting you should say that, Lauren, because until the 1960s, the voting age was often 21 (and in fact, the age of “majority” was often 21 more generally, I believe). It’s an interesting question which is a more suitable age. 18? 21? 16? 25? Perhaps other have opinions.

    If you look at the Wikipedia article on Voting Age, by the way, they discuss proposals to lower the age below 18 in some countries (including the US).

  3. ageyelin2015 says:

    I think that the voting age of 18 makes sense. In the US, as well as in other parts of the world, while 18 year olds are often not supporting themselves, they are at the age for which they legally are their own guardian. They can go to college, funded by their parents, if they wish, but if they do not want to, they can do whatever or go wherever they want (within the confines of the law). This is largely because of the structure of our education system. When a student finishes high school, there is a variety of jobs they can attain, and this allows them to leave their homes and live as an adult. Because of this opportunity for independence, I think that 18 is the best age to begin to vote. Also, since the president is the commander and chief of our armed forces, I think that the age of 18 makes sense because it coincides with the age when a man or woman can join the military, so at this point a person is voting for who their direct commander will be. Does it make sense for a 20 year old in the army to not be able to vote for who will be deciding where he or she fights, while a 21 year old in Ohio has a say in who said commander will be? To address Lisa’s point, while there is not necessarily a difference between a 16 and an 18 year old in terms of responsibility or decision making ability, a line must be drawn somewhere. If 16 year olds are able to vote because there is no difference between them and 18 year olds, why not 15 year olds? Is there a big difference between those two age groups? How about 14, 13, or 12 year olds? Because of this, I think that 18 is the best age for the line of voting eligibility to be drawn.

  4. AlexP says:

    In my opinion, I think that the voting age should be reduced. Like you said Lisa, there really isn’t a significant diference in the ability to comprehend what’s going on in the election to make an proper decision. Lowering the age to maybe 17 or at the lowest, 16, would give young people, like ourselves, the chance to express ourselves and help contribute to our country. As you said before, Lisa, your opinions do not matter due to your age. However, what made you think of this was talking with your neighbor about politics. The fact that you are talking about it at your age shows that it is acceptable to lower the voting age and permit younger teens to express their opinions through voting. It would also promote good voting habits later on if kids started voting at earlier stages than 18. In addition, what makes driving less of a responsibility than voting? because the age where one can first start driving is 16. If we are allowed to get our permits (regardless if we need to have a parent/guardian in the car) at 16, then why shouldn’t we be allowed to vote at 16 too? With the proper high school education, which many kids in the US get, I believe minors under 18 should be allowed to vote. Many kids 16-17 are undoubtedly more informed, and knowledgable about politics and government than 18 year-olds (and for that matter, adults). Going to Alex’s point, I don’t believe that the voting age should coincide with the ability to enter the military. I agree it shouldn’t be above it, no doubt about that, but what are the disadvantages, military wise, to have minors vote under 18?

    • dharbeck says:

      I think it would be too difficult to lower the voting age below 18. Yes there are probably many 16-17 year olds that are more informed, but then there may also be 15 years olds more informed than some 16 year olds, and some 14 year olds more knowledgable then many 15 year olds. The voting age can’t be perfect so we need to draw the line somewhere, 18 makes the most sense and Alex G already explained why.

  5. Lisa Goldsman says:

    I agree with you, Alex (Pai). I think that there is not really a specific age when you receive your responsibilities at one time. This on the other hand can be beneficial because there is not one time when everything is sprung on you, at a young age. Since the driving age is earlier than the voting age, which is also earlier than the drinking age, responsibilities are brought upon young people in stages. From personal experience, I know that my family has always included me in political conversations, which allowed me to always know what was being debated as well as new ideas in the world. So, for this election I know a lot about both candidates and what they stand for although I don’t have a counted vote in the election. But, I could just be one of few young teens who are informed, which would mean if the voting age was lower that people would have a vote but they were uninformed. What puzzles me about the age restrictions in our country is the fact that you are “legal” at 18. At 18 you have (majority) experienced some sort of change in the world, regarding a change in the larger scheme of things like the world, or something in your livelihood, you have through years of schooling, and you can drive (mostly). The 18 years of your previous life still count towards something, as they frame the way you are when you are 18. Calling someone “legal” just because they reach a certain age does not really determine weather they are capable of making a better decision then someone who has experienced similar things and is just one or two years younger. Some people can’t even vote when they are 18 due to the election of every four years. Some people vote for the first time when they are 23, but they still hold the right to vote when they are 18. The concept of age is actually pretty interesting when it is looked into.

  6. ageyelin2015 says:

    In terms of the military aspect of it, I think that allowing people that are not yet old enough to enter the military, you should not be able to vote. If you are 16, why should you have any influence on who the leader of the military is when you legally cannot yet be affected by the outcome of the election (in terms of the military). Having said that,lowering the age to 17 would be most sensible to me, because 17 year olds can enter the military as long as they have the consent of their parents. Also, considering that 16 year olds are minors, and they usually are still provided for by their parents, I do not think it is fair for a 16 year old to be able to vote if it is very possible that they will not be directly affected, because they will not personally pay taxes or do other things of that nature, for that will often be done by their parents. Overall, I do not think it is fair to allow someone to vote who will not have such an incentive to take the responsibility seriously, because it is very possible that the outcome will not personally affect them immediately (although it will later, but many children do not think in those terms).

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