Social Question

ragingloli's avatar

At what age should people be allowed to vote? And why do you think so?

Asked by ragingloli (47679points) October 29th, 2009

The question is due to the recent lowering of the voting age in Bremen (that is a German state) to 16.

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24 Answers

pinkparaluies's avatar

I wish it were 20. Something about being in high school and being able to vote doesn’t make me happy.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I think it could be lowered to 16 or 17 provided that the non-adults who want to vote have to take a course in political awareness. This way, we wouldn’t have high schoolers running around voting for so-and-so because he’s the coolest. I’m not saying all high school kids would do this, but I think a lot would.

Come to think of it, we should have away to educate older voters as well… I met with a lot of uninformed people when I first started voting.

Evelyns_Other_Zebra's avatar

age 18. If you are 18 and can join the military, you should be able to vote.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

22. At that point you are (hopefully) out of high school, and are beginning to make some adult decisions, and learning more about the world. I don’t think most 18 year olds have had enough real world experience that would qualify them to make such an important decision like that. The voting age should be increased to 22.

MrItty's avatar

It shouldn’t be an age at all. There are plenty of 14 year olds with the maturity and knowledge level to vote. There are plenty of 40 year olds without either.

I don’t know what the correct solution is, but like many things (drinking, driving, marriage, etc) an arbitrary number days since your birth isn’t it.

I know that the correct solution is NOT any kind of intelligence test. That would be going backwards about 100 years in Civil Rights

davidk's avatar

Voting age, logically and morally, should be wedded to the minimum age for military service. We should never have anyone give their life for their country without having the right to vote.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

Age 18 is in line with other laws in this country, such as contractual capacity and eligibility for military service. However, here in Illinois, a youth can be prosecuted as an adult for petty crimes at age 16. For more serious crimes, there is no defined age limit. Wasn’t some kid in SC sent to prison for life for a crime he committed at age 12? I see a disparity here. Why is a child not a child when he commits a crime? A 16-year-old can be prosecuted under laws he has no say about making. Is that right? Doesn’t that violate the principle of equal protection?

Note: any degeneration of this discussion into the severity of crime and the necessity of harsh punishment will be politely ignored. Have you forgotten how dumb you were as a kid?

Make it 16 then? Or take it back to 21, when a person can walk into a bar and legally order a drink? Or 25, when she can rent a car? When is an adult really an adult? Who gets to say?

Make it 18 for everything, voting, drinking, majority, contractual capacity, and eligibility for prosecution as an adult, and be done with it. Anything else is hypocrisy.

davidk's avatar

“Make it 18 for everything, voting, drinking, majority, contractual capacity, and eligibility for prosecution as an adult, and be done with it. Anything else is hypocrisy.”

IctheosaurusRex…my sentiments precisely. Well done!

pinkparaluies's avatar

@IchtheosaurusRex you think its a good thing that an 18 year old could go to high school the next day with a hang over??

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@pinkparaluies , they do that already. But you’re just illustrating the problem. You can’t pick one age for something and another age for something else and stay within the principle of fairness. During Vietnam, many states lowered their drinking ages to 18, on the principle that a young man who was mature enough to die in a war was mature enough to have a drink. They (being the Feds, by way of highway funding) pushed it back to 21 later on to cut down on the drunk driving. Now you have a fair number of college administrations wanting to reduce it to 18 again to cut down on binge drinking: a bartender will cut you off. A frat house will not. If goes around and around and around until it makes you crazy.

I left out something: driving. I don’t think a 16-year-old is mature enough to drive, either. I would raise the age for that to 18 as well.

mattbrowne's avatar

18 is okay. Mature enough to vote.

gussnarp's avatar

35. But seriously, 18 works. Frankly, there has to be an arbitrary cut off. 18 is actually probably too young for most people these days, they don’t have the knowledge, let alone the wisdom to make an informed choice. I for one believed in a lower voting age when I was under 18, but at about 21 my political beliefs started doing a complete 180. Now that doesn’t make my earlier beliefs wrong, but when they changed I realized that my earlier beliefs were based on ignorance, so right or wrong would purely have been chance.

That said, some 18 year olds, and even younger, are more educated and can make a good decision. But there’s got to be a line, and since 18 is the age at which one reaches legal independence, that will have to do.

pinkparaluies's avatar

@IchtheosaurusRex Thats beyond ridiculousness. When youre 18 and drunk, you could kill people in a car. I don’t think once youre enlisted they let you carry home the guns to accidentally shoot people with.

gussnarp's avatar

@pinkparaluies “When youre 18 and drunk, you could kill people in a car.” What on earth does that have to do with anything? When you’re 21 and drunk you could kill people in a car. When you’re 64 and drunk you could kill people in a car. ”...once youre enlisted they let you carry home the guns…” Once you are 18 you can go to the store and buy a gun.

pinkparaluies's avatar

@gussnarp I really think that people aren’t giving enough credit to the 18 year olds these days. Most of them don’t have any sense. Its the instant gratification generation.

Which only proves the point. Why can’t they wait 3 more years just to drink? Its just three years. Boo hoo.

ANYWAY. This isn’t a thread about drinking age. So I’m going to ignore it not and not fuel anymore fire. haha

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

On second thought, I think @IchtheosaurusRex is exactly right, there are many people older and younger than 18 who make stupid and immature decisions. The only fair way to assign the minimum age for drinking, driving, joining the military, voting, etc., is to make the minimum age the same for all of them – 18.

And I love the idea of raising the driving age to 18 as well.

cookieman's avatar

I’m all for @IchtheosaurusRex‘s idea. I’ve heard it expressed before and think it’s spot on. Eighteen for everything. Either you’re an adult, or you’re not.

gussnarp's avatar

I’m going to play devil’s advocate here. Maybe we should eliminate the voting age altogether. Voting, unlike owning a gun, drinking, and being in the military, isn’t going to get anyone killed (ok, there’s a broader political argument, but let’s let it go). We already let 18 year old with the mental capacity of 3 year olds vote, legally (I mean this literally – developmentally disabled people, not “dumb” teenagers), so why not 3 year olds? With millions, or even thousands, of people voting this will really be just random noise, statistically. OK, you might say that people will vote the way their parents tell them to, but most people grow up with the same political beliefs as their parents anyway, why does it matter when they start voting with them? After all, no political party is prevented from having children. In fact, there are more democrats than republicans in this country, which suggests that any conservative effect of highly religious people with lots of kids would be minimal.

RedPowerLady's avatar

I’m good with eighteen as well. I do have an opposition to making it sixteen. Studies show that crime drastically reduces among those who are age 25 and up. The reason being that they now feel a part of society. It seems that one would need to feel a part of society to really be able to considerate and make good choices when voting on matters that are of big importance It is also shown in studies that the ability to reason effectively at age sixteen is lacking. I simply cannot imagine this as a proper voting age for several reasons. I know what I was like when I was sixteen. I was still trying to figure out the difference between the political parties. I was also quite self-involved. I don’t think I would have made a conscious voter.

Cartman's avatar

After having read interviews with voters, and watched voters voice their opinion on national TV in several countries, I have started to wonder if people, in general, should be allowed to vote at all.

avvooooooo's avatar

@pinkparaluies Do you really think its only young people who kill others when driving drunk? Seriously?

As you have said, “Thats beyond ridiculousness”.

@all Considering how few young people are voting currently, do you think it would really make that much of a difference to change the age?

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@pinkparaluies , please go to Wikipedia and read about the 18th Amendment. Anybody can get drunk and kill somebody with a car, 18, 21, 35, 65, makes no difference. So let’s just outlaw booze OK? That would eliminate the problem altogether.

And it wouldn’t work any better this time around.

DominicX's avatar


Trust me. They don’t wait 3 years to drink. Not at all. I would know.


I’m fine 18. Wouldn’t really want it to be any lower, wouldn’t want it to be any higher. I’m looking forward to getting to vote for the first time. I wish I had been old enough to vote in the presidential election of 2008. I knew people who got to.

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