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Lowering the voting age

Why I think we should vote at 16.


Written by Clara Brannigan and posted in opinion


This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of SpunOut.ie. It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for SpunOut.ie please contact editor@spunout.ie.


"In Austria you can vote at 16, so if it’s working there, why wouldn’t it work here"

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So, as teenagers we all have a voice, but more than likely it is not heard. This needs to be changed, but how, you ask? By being able to vote at 16! By voting, you have a say in your community and your society. Young people today are more than capable of understanding politics if given the knowledge.

Teenagers are already informed about politics as they study the subject Civic, Social and Political Education. (C.S.P.E.) in school. Although, students are not taught about what each politician does for our country or for their community in great detail. Perhaps if they were to vote, the government may have to consider revising the curriculum that is taught. If teenagers are educated in the system then I think they have every right to vote and make a difference.

We are the future of our country and we have a right to a say in how our country functions. We are old and mature enough to make a decision for our country. Up to 25% of 18-25 year olds have not registered to vote as a result of college or work. There is a gap in the voting system and perhaps 16 and 17 years olds could fill this gap.

The majority of 16 and 17 year olds are in school making it easy for them to register and vote. There is no magic difference between 16 and 18 year olds, anyway. Many 16 year olds are more sensible than some 20 year olds. Many 16 and 17 year olds work and pay tax on their earnings.

At present they are not allowed to have a say in how the government spends their money, nor in how much should be collected from them in taxes. Giving the vote to teenagers would force politicians to take them seriously. Policies on education would have to take their views and interests into account for the first time.

16 year olds today are well educated and media-savvy, so they can express informed opinions. But at the moment young people’s views are easily ignored by those in power.

In Austria you can vote at 16, so if it’s working there, why wouldn’t it work here? This gives teenagers a voice making them more involved with their community, perhaps making it lead to bigger things like joining local youth councils to make their surroundings a better environment for them. In today’s society, teenagers are fully aware of the problems arising in the world, all they need to do is flick on the news for half an hour a day.

With social networking at an all-time boom, teenagers are probably more informed of news and perhaps politics than some adults. Like for example... my parents hadn’t even heard of Joseph Kony… Awkward! I think it’s ridiculous that politics can affect us, but we can’t affect politics. So it’s time we change that.

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Published Feb­ru­ary 28th2013
Tags voting rights
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