April 3, 2018

Time for 16 year olds to vote?

Mother Jones - Nationwide demonstrations added fuel to a conversation sparked last month when Stoneman Douglas students took their lawmakers to task on CNN—a growing number of commentators are now calling for the voting age to be lowered to 16.

It’s not a wholly new idea; activists have been fighting for this change for years. In a few cities, they’ve succeeded—at least when it comes to local elections. Even some prominent lawmakers, such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), have supported it. To advocates, lowering the voting age is not simply a matter of rewarding the political enthusiasm shown by students. Research suggests that voting in high school might actually help lead to greater lifelong civic engagement. Scholars, moreover, argue that the teen brain is prepared to make complex political judgements. And while the movement faces strong detractors and procedural hurdles, proponents hope it could find new resonance after Parkland.

Twenty countries have granted 16- and 17-year-olds the right to vote. A handful of American cities have done the same for local elections.

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