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Let 16-Year Olds Vote Locally

By Divya Pitamber

While some argue that 16 year olds are not mature enough to vote, others argue that they should have a say in their future leaders.

I believe that 16 year olds should be able to vote in local elections or during school board elections, in order to teach them the importance of their vote as well as to think of their future. A taste of their civic duty.

At the age of 16, there is a lot going on. One not only has to navigate through high school, but also has to learn to drive or begin to join the workforce.

Many 16 year olds are getting into their first relationships or focusing on deciding what college they want to go to or major to study in.

Perhaps they are not ready to weigh in on presidential elections, but there are less severe options for teaching them to stay current with political issues.

16-year-olds should be given the right to vote on more localized ballots such as school boards or town representatives, as this not only more directly affects them, but also teaches them to be involved in issues and work through how to decide to vote against or for an issue.

It also introduces them to politics and perhaps gives them insight on the different political parties. Voting in local elections or participating in school board issues can give teens the sense that their vote counts and they can make a change, which may cause them to be more likely to vote when they are older in the presidential election.

Mock elections in classrooms are a way to prepare students to vote or garner interest in the process and these should be introduced earlier in their education to stir up positive feelings towards participation

Age is just a number and over the last few years young people, even without the vote, have shown they can be active and caring participants in our political society. We need to grab that, reward it even. Introduce them to their civic duty, let them be a part of it instead of just telling them.

Every vote - and every voice - counts.

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