Out of the entire population of voting-aged citizens in the United States, only one third of citizens vote. According to the U.S census, out of all 18-24 year olds in the United States, only 52% are registered to vote. Of this 53%, only 41% voted in the last presidential election.
The voting age was originally lowered in 1971 because young men were sent off to fight for our country, but they were denied the right to vote for the person who sent them to battle.
The right to vote was extended to women in 1920.
Mrs. Schlafer believes that most 18 year olds don’t vote because they “don’t have enough experience with government to realize how much their vote really matters”.
How can we give 18 year olds the experience they need? Maybe the answer is to allow political debates in schools. Some schools are afraid of this because they don’t want to offend people or cause conflicts between students.
According to comedian, Louis C. K., “Offending people is a healthy and necessary act. Every time you say something that’s offensive to another person, you just caused a discussion. You just forced them to have to think.”
Paige Adams, junior, sees it like this: “We are a democracy for a reason: so that we can take part in government, whether it’s local or national. Everyone's vote matters.”
This opinion differs from that of Rachel Connell, junior, who says, “I don’t have the time to think about voting and politics. I have more important things to do, anyway.”
This statement may be true, as teens have to worry about so many things, such as starting life after high school. To some, it feels like there just isn’t enough time in the day to worry about politics.
Although teens these days are busy, there are many sources that 18 year olds, or anybody, can use to become knowledgeable of politics and candidates.
The biggest source is the internet. Teens can use Google to research candidates, or they can take a page from some of the older generations and read the newspaper. There will always be articles about the candidates as long as there is space in the paper for opinion writings.
Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence says that the government gets their powers from the “consent of the governed.” By voting, citizens are voicing their consent for who will govern.
So get out and vote!