Is Eighteen too young to Vote?
Previously published on March 14, 2008
The voting rights in America have evolved significantly since they were originally granted to white-male landowners; today, any American citizen of adult age is guaranteed the right to vote by the Constitution. On the other hand, the age of eighteen seems fairly arbitrary as collegiate opportunities and a shift in economic viability seem to push the burden of adult responsibilities to the early to mid-twenties. With adolescence being extended, it is reasonable to question whether or not adulthood truly begins at eighteen. Therefore, the ability to vote may not be right for those turning eighteen.
Part of the reason the government set the voting age at eighteen is that it is also the age at which Americans can decide to join the military without parental consent. Above all, the age of eighteen represents the time when US citizens become legally responsible for all their behaviors while restrictions on their Constitutional freedoms are lifted. Furthermore, it is also the period in which the still vast majority of Americans end their formal education. Education provides individuals with the tools they need to understand political issues to make informed well thought-out decisions; thereby, making the age of eighteen a particularly good age to grant Americans their right to vote.
Furthermore, the modern world is extremely dynamic and requires a base of knowledge that no US Senator, Congressmen, or President can possible have; meanwhile, many middle-age to older Americans are still operating under assumptions and views of the world that have drastically changed and are not necessarily valid. As the vast majority of government officials come from the rising generation's parents', grandparents', and great grandparents' generations, there is a lack of perspective from the younger generation. Having older Americans in power provides a great deal of expertise and experience, but a rapidly changing world needs to have people who will be directly affected by serious issues like climate change and economic shifts as by the time those problems bloom, most of our government officials will be dead, so they are less likely to take steps to deal with the problems of the future.
Aside from the fact that no law or additional Constitutional Amendment can supersede the current Twenty-Sixth Amendment, increasing the voting age would be a mistake. Furthermore, with the greater depth of current educational requirements and the greater availability of information, most young adults can make decisions that are better informed than their parents' decisions. Moreover, the need to attract the young vote forces officials to pay attention to issues of tomorrow.