Give Us Our Rights MAG

By Michael Dinsmore, Newton, MA

The right to vote is crucial to our democratic system in the United States. Citizens can go to the polls and influence what happens in this country. When the U.S. was established, this right separated it from other countries. Why isn’t this important right given to everyone? People should be allowed to vote before they turn 18. Young people will be adults when much of what is currently being determined will take effect, so we should have a chance to influence these important decisions.

Voter turnout for the 1996 election was around 49 percent. Comparatively, a study of eight- to 12-year-olds revealed that 89 percent wanted to vote. Another study found that 73 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds wanted to vote. If young adults want to help make decisions about how the country grows, why should they be ­stifled?

Teens can also encourage adults to vote. When they come home from school and speak to their parents about politics and how excited they are to vote, their parents’ interest may be aroused. Additional voters will make elections more representative of what all citizens want, not just certain groups. And when these young people become adults, they will continue with their established voting habits.

Teenagers are told to act like adults. They can be prosecuted as adults, teachers expect mature behavior from students, and youth of all ages pay taxes. The government gets more than $9.7 billion annually in sales tax from children. Additionally, 80 percent of high school students have jobs and pay significant percentages of their earnings to the government in taxes. The American Revolution was fought over taxation without representation, yet ironically, children and teens pay these taxes without having voting rights. It is unfair to persecute people with laws they have no power to ­influence, especially in a democratic country.

Many say that children are unlikely to make good decisions because they are not yet burdened with the concerns and problems of the world. They also feel that parents, advertising, and friends may influence young people’s choices. When people turn 18, they don’t suddenly become unaffected by other points of view.

Many teens are better educated than their parents and have studied politics and American history more recently. Some young adults may not completely understand certain political ideas or problems, but many adults who are ­uneducated also vote.

Young people should be allowed to vote. In order to gain these rights, we need to spread this idea; tell your friends and parents, send letters to your state representatives, or advocate in your own way. Setting a voting age is discrimination. The government cannot discriminate against other groups, so why should it do so against young ­people?

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This article has 8 comments.

Bobbi PLATINUM said...
on Oct. 16 2010 at 2:52 pm
Bobbi PLATINUM, Terry, Mississippi
39 articles 1 photo 46 comments
I disagree completely, I'm 17 and i used to believe this way but you will see that once you take citizenship(usually 11th grade year) and economics(12th grade) everything you thought is different. Kids think it is all up to the president but it isn't, the president cannot do anything with out the senate and the house of representatives. Yes, the president can Veto their votes but they can veto him back. So in no way are these kids ready to vote they need to enjoy being a kid, most of them will go by what their parents say and few of them that young have an opinion for themselves.

Kochers said...
on Jan. 12 2010 at 9:05 pm
I completely agree with what you are saying, and so do many other teens across the country. I recommend you check out I think you'll like what you see. :)

on Jan. 12 2010 at 4:49 pm
Karma_Chameleon SILVER, English, Indiana
8 articles 0 photos 236 comments

Favorite Quote:
To be able to say "I love you" one must first be able to say "I" - Ayn Rand

I disagree. I personally feel that the vast majority of teenagers who would vote would base their decisions on the election bandwagon, not on what really matters.

on Nov. 26 2009 at 12:25 am
spontaneous09 BRONZE, Dallas, Texas
1 article 0 photos 32 comments
I never thought about it that way. We really are not being denied our rights. Besides American teenagers have rights that only others could dream of.

on Nov. 26 2009 at 12:23 am
spontaneous09 BRONZE, Dallas, Texas
1 article 0 photos 32 comments
I disagree. While some of us do want to vote and act much more mature than others, you can not just look at what a small minority wants. There are many bad habits set in the minds of teenagers. For example, a lack of pride in America, the things that we have that other countries do not.

A radical change (I say radical because it would change the world for centuries to come) would have to be set in place by better actions on our part...

on Feb. 3 2009 at 10:54 pm
i really agree with your article. i've always wanted to be able to vote, especially in this past election. the government should atleast allow teens to vote.

Buizel said...
on Nov. 22 2008 at 1:28 am
@Dynsdale: While it is true that we will all eventually be able to vote, the perspective from a teenager is unique and will be lost at 18. Also, politicians will most likely start paying more attention to youth rights if they know they are campaigning for youth as well as adults.

Dynsdale said...
on Oct. 30 2008 at 5:14 am
Whoa there. Teenagers should NOT be allowed to vote. Would you elect a teenager to Congress/President? No. Teenagers aren't renowned for their decision-making abilities. Besides - all US teenagers will (given that you don't die prematurely) eventually gain the right to vote, so technically, you're not being denied anything - you're just being asked to wait a bit.

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