The Voting Age: Why it’s a good idea for young citizens to vote

Stephanie Mayer, staff writer

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In the United States, turning 18 is one of the most important milestones in a person’s life. Not only are you legally an adult, but you also have all of the legal rights of an adult with the exception of purchasing and drinking alcohol. At 18, you can do anything from working full time to getting a tattoo without parental permission that would be required in some states. It’s a time when you have more control over your decisions, and a big decision that you can finally make is choosing which individuals you believe would be best fit to run the country.

Voting is a legal right that is given at adulthood. It has always been a question if young voters should be allowed to vote, with some objecting to the idea because of a perceived immaturity of 18-year-olds. And while this may hold true for some, making political decisions at 18 is still a reasonable right to grant, and young voters should indisputably be allowed to vote.

At 18, most teenagers have had some exposure to politics and have had practice forming their own opinions about current political issues that are facing this country.

“I like to believe I’m knowledgeable [of political matters],” senior Kately Clark said. “By engaging in conversation with my peers, family and teachers, I question my own beliefs and where they align with the candidates.”

Another important fact to consider it that most citizens graduate from high school at age 18.

“Eighteen is a good age to start voting, considering it is the same age for the draft and the time when many Americans finish school,” senior Daniel Kefer said.

This means that in class, teens have already discussed issues of politics and have acquired a good sense of their own political values, and some students have even taken classes in school surrounding political matters, like We the People.

Not only do students hold importance to the national election, but they also respond to their duties as young voters to be aware of and vote for different levels of government.

“I know I am well-prepared,” said Kefer. “I have learned all about our district congressmen and Town Council. Most people prepare for the national election, but I will not focus on that until November.”

But besides school, there are many other ways in which students have become aware about voting and politics.

“We have watched a lot of debates on the news that would help us prepare to make an important decision on who’s our next president,” senior Nathalia Belalcazar said.

It is also useful to consider that young voters are going to make up the next generation of Americans. It’s important that they get their say on matters because by the time the 2020 election rolls around, they will have had to deal with the president for four years by then. As they get older, they will be a pivotal part of society, and having their preferred candidates in office is a good way to accurately facilitate the rapid change that the country has and will continue to face.

Many of these young voters have already decided on which candidates they plan to support in this coming national election, thus supporting their seriousness about the matter and ability to figure out their political stance.

“I hate all of [the candidates],” Clark said. “Political polarization and lack of a true moderate is going to cripple America. I grew up in a very conservative family and identify as a right-leaning moderate, but as of now, Bernie Sanders has my vote.”

Eighteen is a very important age to be at, as it is one of the markers of control over your own life. For all of the life decisions you can make at 18, one of the most important is to decide who you want to represent you and your fellow citizens in the government, and 18 is the optimal age for you to be able to decide that.

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