Cross Currents: Should the voting age be higher than 18?

The Channels Opinion Page | CROSS CURRENTS


Alloy Zarate

Illustration by Alloy Zarate, 2020

Every year, thousands of teens become eligible to vote and are entrusted to make decisions that shape the country. At 18, new voters can fall anywhere from being active in politics to completely disinterested. Are 18-year-olds too young to entrust such important decisions to? Or should they be ready to get involved in politics?


Alvaro Abrego Trancozo, Staff Writer

18-year-olds that are excited to cast their first ballots this year should wait until they’re older to make such an important decision.

The careers of the two lead presidential candidates shouldn’t be in the hands of young people who are often disinterested and uninformed on politics.

Especially those between 18 and 20, who can’t legally buy alcoholic drinks.

During this heated election between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, I don’t hear many in-depth political discussions happening among young people.

“I don’t like Trump,” is the extent of my peers’ engagement in politics.

According to Huffpost, “Only 16% of Americans around the ages of 18 to 29 would consider themselves very-well informed.”

It feels good to be 18, but you’re still a teen.

Changing the voting age to 21 gives people extra time to inform themselves of every political party without the distractions of being a teenager.

The government already knows that an 18-year-old can’t drink responsibly. They definitely can’t vote responsibly and be conscious of the effect their vote will have on society.

During the Vietnam War, the voting age was lowered to 18 due to the rising concerns of being able to send off young males to war but not letting them vote.

It was a plan to quickly influence young people to vote for a specific side.

The government knew that young people can be easily influenced because they don’t know what it’s like to live independently.

I am not against voting, I just think people should wait until they’re 21 to start making that decision.


Rodrigo Hernandez, News Editor

The voting age should remain at 18, and raising it won’t help make things better. 

The 26th Amendment that made 18-year-olds eligible to vote is taken for granted in this era of performative online activism and separation.

When I look online I either see people who are all-in with their cause and information, or those who are blissfully unaware of the chaos ensuing right under their nose.

Now more than ever, the younger generation needs to have a higher voter turnout, because we will be the ones to live through the consequences of our actions and inactions. 

There also may be the case that younger voters aren’t mature enough to understand the severity of the issues at play. 

A study from the Journal of Adolescent Health says, “The frontal lobes, home to key components of the neural circuitry underlying ‘executive functions’ such as planning, working memory, and impulse control, are among the last areas of the brain to mature; they may not be fully developed until halfway through the third decade of life.”

Many people seem to be unaware that, aside from the presidency, local elections and propositions also have a huge and immediate impact on our community.

With the amount of turmoil brewing, I can’t imagine anyone would still be undecided.

Nevertheless, this election may be the most important in American history, and will have an impact on our country and communities for generations to come.

Young people need to have a say in their own future.