Daily Pat Political Point–Let 16-Year-Olds-Vote!–March 7, 2018

March 7, 2018

The Daily Pat Political Point. It’s time to let 16-year-old Americans the right to vote.

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I once had a discussion with my wife’s Massachusetts Republican uncle during a family reunion..

He made a snide remark about how Senator Bernie Sanders could only pull-in 16-year-olds, who can’t vote, of course.

After he and a few other family members had a nice chuckle, I offered a counterpoint:

Why is it we’ll allow a senile 90-year-old to vote, but allowing a healthy 16-year-old to vote is ridiculous.

After a few seconds of awkward silence, her uncle laughed, and said, “Good point.”

Why do we let 16-year-olds drive, get jobs, and open bank accounts, but not let them dare vote?

What? They’re not smart enough?

If that’s your argument, I’ll interview a random senior citizen on both current and historical events that will make you cringe. And you know I’m right.

Laurence Steinberg, Professor of Psychology at Temple, argued in The New York Times that when given the time, 16-year-olds have the cognitive abilities to logically reason, and make a rational decision. Steinberg says they will sometimes make the wrong decisions, but no less or greater than adults do!

Besides, other countries allow their 16-year-olds to vote, and they vote in high numbers.

Takoma Park, Maryland grants its 16-year-old citizens the right to vote in its local elections. Again, turnout for that age group is through the roof!

There’s also lots of data showing voter turnout for 16-18-year-olds tends to be higher than the 18-25 age group. And by allowing 16-year-olds the power to vote, they might form a civic and healthy habit to vote in future elections.

Above everything else, though, 16-year-olds must have a voice to speak-out over the major screw-ups their elders keep making.

They are facing massive student debt, rising medical costs, cuts to Social Security little-to-no child care services, further fights to discriminate against the LGBT community, no end to overseas wars, plus cuts to birth control and women’t health services.

The so-called “reasonable” and “logical” older generations have created, and continue to create so many problems.

Perhaps granting 16-year-olds the vote isn’t such a bad thing.

pat@wsgw.com

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