The Twenty-Sixth Amendment to the Constitution prohibits states from denying residents who have reached the age of eighteen the right to vote. It doesn’t say that states can’t set their voting ages lower than eighteen.
The Amendment simply reads: “The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.”
A couple of years ago, I saw where some people had come up with the bright idea of giving sixteen-year-olds the right to vote. Singer Michelle Blackwell maintained at the time that “a lot of young people feel very powerless and they don’t feel that their voice matters and that’s part of the reason why there might be this absence of young participation as adults.” She believed that by lowering the voting age to sixteen more young people will pick up the voting habit.
Eighteen-year-olds got the vote in 1971 in large part because of the Vietnam War. The feeling was that if these citizens were old enough to fight and die in Vietnam that they should be part of the conversation about what put them there. Well, teenagers today are dying, and they are fighting. How about letting them fight where it matters—at the ballot box?
Martin then did an interview on All Things Considered with Lorelei Vaisse, who is on the youth advisory board for Vote16USA—“an organization that is trying to lower the voting age in the United States to 16.” Said Vaisse:
I have always been extremely interested in politics. I talk about politics with my dad all the time, often disagreeing with his ideas. And I thought that expanding voting rights to 16 year olds was an amazing idea because I really wanted to vote. I couldn’t wait to vote, and a lot of these issues affect 16, 17 year olds, so there’s really no reason for them to not be able to vote
Vaisse is senior at Lowell High School in San Francisco.
I fail to see the point of lowering the voting age. According to the Center for Information and Research on Learning and Engagement, in the 2014 elections, “voter turnout among people under age 30 hit its lowest level in 40 years.” Even Michel Martin acknowledges: “Eighteen to 24-year-olds barely vote now.”
I have a better idea than letting sixteen-year-olds vote. Why not let six-year-olds vote? By that age they are able to sign a voter registration form and read and mark an election ballot. Why not let them vote? What possible difference could it make? Consider the following.
We have a two-party system that gives us a choice at every election of voting for Tweedledum or Tweedledee, of voting for socialist A or fascist B, or of voting for the red or the blue welfare/warfare statist. There is not a dime’s worth of difference between the two major parties. The system is rigged so that third parties don’t have a chance. And even if they did, how would that help? In the last presidential election, the Libertarian Party nominated two men for president and vice president who were the most unlibertarian candidates in the Party’s history. Free Trade or Protecti... Buy New $3.04 (as of 04:35 EDT - Details)
Once in office, politicians of either party seek to do the same things: take our money, redistribute our money, increase the size, scope, and power of government, meddle in the economy and society, tell us what we can’t do, tell us how to live our life, and, of course, get reelected.
The federal budget is over $4 trillion a year, the budget deficit is over $1 trillion a year, the national debt is over $21 trillion, and Americans live in a vast welfare/warfare/police state. Things get worse every year even though there are more Republicans in office at the federal, state, and local levels than at any time since Reconstruction. What possible difference could it make who gets elected to office or who votes for them?
Might as well let six-year-olds begin voting. And while we’re at it, we might as well let them run for office too. After studying politicians for many years, I don’t see how electing six-year-olds could possibly result in anything worse than electing the adults who hold federal, state, and local offices in America right now.
In fact, choosing at random for Congress 535 names out of a phone book from any small town in America and placing their firstborn children in Congress would probably result in an improvement over the current situation.