LOWER THE VOTING AGE

By: Missy Shea

VOTING IS IMPORTANT

Election outcomes are determined by those who participate. Elected officials make important (often life and death) decisions about how our society will expend its collective resources and the restraints it will place on individual behavior. The drinking age, the age at which you can get a driver's license, and the amount of money your teachers receive are some of the decisions made by elected officials. In making those decisions, elected officials respond to people who bother to vote more than to those who abstain. Voting does not guarantee that one's preferences will prevail, but choosing not to vote denies a person one of they key tools of having a say in a democracy.

IN 2012, ONLY 59.3% OF PEOPLE IN THE U.S. ACTUALLY VOTED

If we lower the voting age to 16, we might be able to increase that percentage.

WHY SHOULD THE VOTING AGE BE LOWERED?

LOWERING THE VOTING AGE WILL RESULT IN A GREATER TURNOUT

Many people at 16 and 17 have lived in their communities for years and are taking government classes in high school. That combination results in more people exercising their first chance to vote if they are 16 or 17 than if they are unable to vote until they have left home and school.

A detailed study of voting age and voters in Denmark found that 18-year-olds were far more likely to cast their "first vote" than 19-year-olds, and that every month of extra age in those years resulted in a decline in "first vote" turnout. Allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in local elections will enable them to vote before leaving home and high school, and establish a life-long habit of voting.

LOWERING THE VOTING AGE TO 16 IS BECOMING AN INTERNATIONAL MOVEMENT

A growing number of nations like Austria, Argentina, Germany and the United Kingdom that have extended voting rights to people at 16 for national, regional or local elections. Evidence from Austria confirms that extending voting rights to people after they turn 16 promotes higher turnout for first-time voters and over time. Austria's experience also shows that 16- and 17-year-olds are ready for voting as far as making choices that accurately reflect their views.
Long-time backers of a lower voting age, like the National Youth Rights Association, make a fairness argument as well. Turning 16 has special significance in our culture. At age 16, we can drive, pay taxes and for the first time work without any restriction on hours. Many states already allow citizens under 18 to vote in Democratic and Republican primaries for president, Congress and governor.

PROTEST TO LOWER THE VOTING AGE

Wednesday, Dec. 3rd, 12pm

355 Main St

West Haven, CT

Come to the West Haven City Hall and join us in protesting the voting age!