Youth= Power : Move the Voting Age to 16


Noah Tesfaye

`On the right is Tyler Okeke an activist for lowering the voting age.

Voting is a way for the American people to have a say in this country, but most Americans don’t vote.

Why is that? Many people don’t have the time or don’t know how to. So we rely on others to represent our voices, but that’s not a reliable way to make change. And we are left with our own opinions not said. This was not the case for this election, more people did vote, with all of the help from people in the public eye most Americans voted in this election.

But we could do more, not just more voters but get the younger generation voting. There has been a lot of talk in the media about the youth and their voice says the New York Times. Yet you have to 18 years of age to vote.

But what about teenagers?

Teenagers understand the issues and they deserve a voice. The youth know the problems with the education system, they know the problems with our government and laws. Limiting the voice of the future generation is a huge problem. Not surprisingly the media and the youth have opinions on lowering the voting age to 16.

Maggie Astor, a political reporter at the The New York Times wrote, “The young people who have come forward to call for gun control in the wake of the mass shooting at their high school in Parkland, Fl., are challenging the tiresome stereotype of American kids as indolent narcissists whose brains have been addled by smartphones.” Gun control and mass shootings isn’t such a relevant issue now because of COVID but it doesn’t mean it is not still an issue.

Now, in the year of COVID-19, mass shootings have decreased significantly, but is still a need for gun control. The Parkland students have been fighting since March of 2018 and continue to share their voices. We want to vote, we have diverse, different opinions.

We do research, have complex opinions on important topics and most importantly can think of solutions. We have started protests, we have pointed out issues, we have used what little opportunities we’ve been given to show you that we are capable of making important decisions.

“Over the past few months, Gen Z activists have been a driving force in causes such as climate change, the Black Lives Matter movement and LGBTQ rights.” says National Public Radio.

Rhinebeck high school students using their voices to get others to vote. Photo of Beatrix Briggs, Martin Kent, Fiona Beer, and Ben Halle, taken in the Village of Rhinebeck. 
 (Oona Shain )

We are becoming the new leaders of this world and should be treated as such. A change to the voting age will allow us to help change our country.

Lowering the voting age has been a controversial topic for years. In 1970, Congress established an amendment, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which lowered the voting age from 21 to 18. Because of this change the US flourished says Edward M.kennedy Institute. More people voted, more amendments were made and all in all it unmistakably affected the US entirely.

Why not do it again?

Tyler Okeke is a 19-year-old activist, trying to get the voting age lowered. “When we look down the road, we don’t see a hopeful future. We don’t see a future where we’ll have access to clean water and clean air, and equitable schools,”

Tyler Okeke says to NPR. “Voting is just the logical next step in making sure that a generation that is so passionate about change and is so deeply affected by the decisions that are being made now that we are inserted into policy-making and have a say in our democracy.”

Tyler is not alone. Across the entire world, youth activists are making their opinions heard and demanding that law and policy makers listen.

This is our future. Lowering the voting age could improve the government and help get the young generation have their voice heard.

Put trust in the future of our world. LET US VOTE.