Opinion: The silenced voice in voting


Nate Rawa

I DIDN’T VOTE: North Penn High School students make their way to classes on Tuesday, November 22, 2022. Many high school students are contributing members of the economy and will be the next leaders of a world that will be greatly effected by the recent election. Yet, many cannot yet vote.

They can start driving. They pay taxes. They go out shopping. They have a major impact on the economy. However, they can’t vote. Their voices aren’t heard. This is the life of one particular group in America. This is the life of 16 year olds. 

“At 16 years old, young people can work, pay taxes and contribute to the economy. It is beyond appropriate that we extend an opportunity for young people to play a role in electing our Representatives both in the halls of Congress and the White House,” said Massachusetts representative Ayanna Pressley, on a website supporting lowering the voting age. 

So, if the actions taken to contain inflation are affecting citizens, why shouldn’t people be able to vote for those people earlier? As soon as some people get their driver’s license, they are fully responsible for filling up their tank. Many of these people are doing so as early as age 16. 

Not only will the prices drive these people to vote, but schools are always teaching their students about voting and the importance of it. The constant stress of “it’s your right and responsibility to vote” doesn’t even work because many students are out of high school before they can even vote for the first time. 

Waiting until 18 may seem like a good idea to some, but with the amount of politics teenagers are exposed to in school and on social media, that is not necessary. The news is being discussed in classes, people talk about political issues, so it’s easy to understand what is going on. With the amount of social media teenagers view, it could be argued that 16 year olds are better suited for voting than some of the elderly. They follow the news more and will thus have more knowledge about what is going on.

“I myself have always been for lowering the voting age to 16. I think it’s really important to capture kids when they’re in high school when they’re interested in all of this when they’re learning about the government to be able to vote,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a VOTE16USA article about changing the voting age. 

The impact that the economy has on 16-year-olds is great enough that they should have a say in every election. Voting is a responsibility for Americans, and should be eligible for them two years earlier.