Should 18-Year-Olds Be Allowed To Vote?

Jake Boren, Sports Editor

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In six months, Charlie Gochnour’s military registration will be due and he will be eligible for the draft. Along with military service, the 18th birthday in the United States also means Gochnour has the right to vote for whom he wants the next President to be. The 26th Amendment states that any eligible U.S. citizen over the age of 18 can elect those in office. Gochnour, along with a handful of other Highland seniors, can actually have a voice — and a vote — in the debate over the direction our country is headed. There has to be some cut off for the legal age of a voter, and at 18 citizens receive a wide variety of other rights so it only seems fitting that their right to vote be included in that list. During WWII when young men were being sent overseas to fight, Franklin D. Roosevelt lowered the age of legal voters from 21 to 18. He believed that if a young man was old enough to fight, he was old enough to vote. After all, it only seems fair that the soldiers be able to choose the man that could eventually send them into combat. Every citizen is entitled to his or her political views; young voter’s opinions’ shouldn’t be belittled just because of their age.

In 1917 a group of women’s suffrage supporters picketed the white house demanding their right to vote. After much opposition, the US Supreme Court ruled that women had the constitutional right to vote. Unlike past suffrage movements, the twenty-sixth amendment allowing 18 year olds the right to vote was the quickest amendment to be ratified in history. However that didn’t mean that it didn’t have opposition. 17 states voted against the proposition on the platform that young adults were neither educated or interested in the presidential election. Now, especially with the 2017 election rapidly approaching there has been an increased emphasis on the questions raised in 1971. Those opposed to 18-year-old voters argue that the young adults in today’s society are unprepared to make an educated decision on the future leaders of our nation. However I would suspect that a large part of Americans in general are unprepared.

A Recent study performed by the Washington post showed that young adults, below the age of 25 don’t vote as much, with the exception of 18 year olds. Perhaps it’s the excitement of finally being recognized as an adult that

draws in the eager young voters. Or, maybe it’s the genuine interest of the youngsters in being a part of something larger than themselves.

“I want to vote because I think it’s important as a citizen to do my part,” Gochnour said.

“Its exciting that I have the opportunity to make a difference.”

In high school, students have the unique opportunity to be taught about American history and how our government operates. Teachers do a great job preparing students to be productive members of society, and “Be the change they want to see in the world.” Having a younger population of voters that are eager to have their voices heard is very healthy and encouraging regarding the future of the united states. Not only is voting a right, but it’s a privilege, and should be treated as such. 18 year olds will be equally as effected by the upcoming election as someone twice their age or older, and therefore should have an equal say in the future of our nation.

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Should 18-Year-Olds Be Allowed To Vote?