shoudl 16 year olds be aloud to vote?

Topics: Democracy, Elections, Voting Pages: 1 (379 words) Published: February 15, 2014
When the 26th amendment was passed, it gave 18-year-olds the right to vote. Today, nearly thirty-five years later, the question has become "should 16-year-olds be allowed to vote?" Of course the general consensus of youth is for this option, yet a surprising amount of adults are supporting the movement as well. In order to understand why lowering the voting age would even be considered, it is necessary to examine why the 26th amendment was passed in the first place. The United States was in the throes of the Vietnam War and protests were underway throughout the nation. Draftees into the armed services were any male over the age of 18. These young men were allowed, even forced, to fight and die for their country, but they were unable to vote. The Congress attempted to right this wrong in 1970 by passing an extension to the 1965 Voting Rights Act that gave the vote to all persons 18 or older, in all elections, on all levels. The supporters of lowering the voting age to 16 are of course "piggy-backing" off of the basis for the 26th amendment. One supporter, Margot Adler, makes the comparison between fighting at age 18 to driving and other responsibilities given at 16, "16 year-olds can drive in most states; if they commit serious crimes, they are tried as adults. If they can be punished as adults, why don't they have the rights of adults? Despite the close vote in the recent presidential election, it appears that only about half the potential voters (51 percent) exercised their right to vote. That figure is only marginally better than it was a few years ago. According to official Census Bureau and Federal Election Commission figures, only 49 percent of those of voting age participated in the presidential election in 1996. This follows the trend of a steady decline in voting during the 20th Century, which began with a 75 percent turnout in the 1902 presidential election. American voting habits are particularly striking when compared with those of other democratic...
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