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Lower the voting age?

NEWS FACT Is your voice being heard by the people in power? No, says the National Youth Rights Association [NYRA]. A nonprofit organization, NYRA is working to lower the legal voting age from 18 to 16.

"All of the decisions that are made that affect [adolescents]--education, war, the environment--are done without their input," says NYRA's Executive Director Alex Korokmay-Palicz.

Many people say that 16-year-olds are not mature enough to make informed decisions. Curtis Gans is a voting expert at American University in Washington, D.C. "I don't think anybody age 16 has any understanding of the political system, or any obligations as a citizen," he tells JS. "People 18 do."

Each state can make changes to its voting-rights laws. Legislators in California, Massachusetts, and Washington State are considering lowering the legal voting age in their states.

What Do You Think?

Should the voting age be lowered to 16?

Yes Teens under the age of 18 can cast votes in more than 10 countries around the world. the U.S., many 16-year-olds have jobs, axes, and drive cars. Aren't they prepared to vote?

Yes, says Michael Cappetta, 16, a junior at Chagrin Falls High School in Ohio. "Opening up the voting pool to a younger generation may inspire our generation to vote more often, and take part in democracy," he sags. "For the people who claim young people should not vote, I ask them: 'How many of the past elections have you voted in?'"

Michael Ciappi, 13, notes that today's kids are well informed about global events. "A lot of kids my age now listen to the news and know what's going on and deserve to vote," sags the eighth-grader at Woodrow Wilson Middle School in Clifton, New Jersey.

No "Kids who are 16 are not responsible enough to know who is a better candidate or to know whom to pick," says Melanie Ciappi, Michael's twin sister. "They would just choose whomever is more popular, not [someone they agree with on] the issues."

Anastasia Hansen, 14, sees voting as a right that should be earned. "Eighteen is the legal age for adulthood, so it should be an adult thing, not an adolescent one," sags the ninth-grader at St. Agnes Academy in Houston, Texas. "It's sort of a privilege. You need to be more mature to make a decision as big as that.... You haven't had as much experience."

Maddison Miller, 11, a sixth-grader at Georgetown Middle School in Georgetown, Kentucky, agrees that 16-year-olds are not mature enough to vote. "They can act silly and probably don't pay enough attention to politics," she sags. "I don't think they should help run the country."
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Title Annotation:Debate; National Youth Rights Association
Publication:Junior Scholastic
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 2, 2006
Words:442
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