CON: Should 16-year-olds be given the right to vote in America?

Vrinda Chauhan , Asst. A&E Editor

As a 16 year old, I must admit that I spend most of my time thinking about boys, school, and food. With this mindset, it is frankly a bit frightening of allow teenagers, like myself, to make decisions that could potentially determine the future of our nation. Voting is a privilege that should be given to the developed, mature mind, not to the uninformed and unaware.

First and foremost, children are simply not informed enough to make such ground-breaking decisions. In fact, many adults aren’t even apt to make such decisions. Voting is a serious process—it requires coherent logic and maturity. This is a state of mind that teenagers are often unable to achieve at their age.

Results from a study conducted by the McLean Hospital Brain Imaging Center suggest that adults are able to use rational decision making processes when faced with emotional decisions. The study further reveals that adolescent brains are simply not equipped to think in a logical fashion. Therefore, teens would not be able to handle making a decision that requires as much rationality and logic as voting does.

Moreover, it would simply be unfair that teens, who have not been as actively involved with society as adults have, should be able to vote. As a teenager, one is reliant on authority, such as their parents, schools, and government, at all times. It is not until the age of 18 that one becomes a true citizen of America, because that is the time when most teenagers shift their priorities. At this age, they take up responsibilities of adults and begin to reciprocate the investment made in them as children by changing and shaping society. Teens are generally not as involved in society as adults. It would be unfair if we allow them to vote to change aspects of the nation when they themselves are not heavily involved in it.

Teens would not be able to take many of the issues brought up in voting seriously. Teens generally do not realize or have to deal with the responsibilities that come with being an adult, such as paying their own taxes, managing finances, etc. Important voting aspects, such as healthcare and unemployment, are a foreign language to most teens, as they have no experience with such problems.

That is not to say that all teens are ditzy and ignorant. But the truth of that matter is that informed and politically active teens make up only a small portion of the general teen population. Allowing the entire age group to vote by using these select teens as poster children would be counterproductive.

It is not that teens’ mindsets are different and thus less significant. It is that teens simply do not have the experience in society that is required to be an educated voter.