Are teens ready to vote?

By Christopher Perez, Staff Writer

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Vote! Vote! Vote! This a word that we hear constantly in school and in society, but when voting is mentioned, youth is excluded even though they’re the future and looked upon to carry the legacy of our country.

The current voting age in America is 18, but many people think that lowering the voting age to 16 will, in fact, benefit our society. Junior Seriann Silfain said, “If youth don’t vote, they won’t have a say in what goes on in today’s world.” Sophomore Fernanda Hernandez added that it is important because it involves our future and how we shape it.   11th grader Estefany Davila said, ‘’ Youth would have an opportunity to make their voices be heard.”

Others, however, doubt that lowering the voting age will benefit our society. Senior Anjee Rodriguez said, “While some 16-year olds have a solid head on their shoulders, others are immature and lack the experience to know what’s best for the country. Most can’t decide on their electives, much less the President of the United States.’’

Law Magnet lead teacher Mr. Asper doesn’t see any benefits in lowering the voting age because polls show that most 18-year olds don’t vote. “Why should we let 16-year olds vote if 18-year olds don’t even vote?” he asks.

There is also the question of teens being too easily influenced by parents and friends. Mr. Asper says that teenagers’ views will conflict with those of their friends and their parents, but he says that’s the beauty of voting because no one agrees.

English teacher Ms. Fernandini said, “Without challenging and questioning and reflecting on the values they have been brought up with, teens will never discover what they truly believe in. And that takes time, lots of reading and research, and a willingness to be uncomfortable.”

The most important thing when it comes to voting is the competence to make a good decision when you’re in the voting booth. But are 16 year-olds mature enough to make important and sometimes life-changing decisions in that booth? Estefany Davila does not think that all teenagers have the ability to make decisions about politics which depends on the amount of maturity the teenager has.

Would lowering the voting age lead to a more bipartisan government? Social Studies teacher Ms. Perez said that opinions will still divide us even if 16 year-olds are allowed to vote.

Ms. Fernandini thinks that it depends on the student’s beliefs, culture, background, class, race and sexual orientation. She believes that all these factors play a role on how the youth would vote. She adds that polls show that today’s youth is more progressive in their thinking, but she is not sure that this will lead to a more bipartisan government.


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