Time for change: my voice is just as important as those a year older

Gracie Deichler, opinion editor

Everyone is always worrying about the future and what will affect it. But what if your future was decided by people only 12 months older than you? Aren’t both of your futures important? A single year doesn’t make their future anymore important than someone younger, right? Even though you’re 12 months younger, it does not mean you have less to say.

I have followed this presidential race very carefully and have put in a lot of time studying the candidates. Unfortunately, my 18th birthday is Nov. 11. Three days after the voting date cut off. I believe that with the right guidelines and restrictions the United States Government should drop the legal voting age by a year, and make it so anyone 17 years of age or older is able to vote for government.

There are several ways in which the government could introduce the new legal voting age. For example, anyone who is 17 and interested in voting, takes a 30 hour class based on American presidential history and watches/reports on the debates, after a test on this knowledge those who pass should get a legal voting license. Therefore, anyone who may say “these kids don’t even know what politics are about” can kindly sit down and be quiet. It’s not fair that just because I am 17 others get to decide my future. It’s not like I’m 7 years old and this won’t have a large scale affect on my life. This election will impact me. It practically affects everything about my future – college tuition, student loans, the way we handle immigration, unemployment rates, basic human rights, social security, retirement and how we handle the ever so heavy debt. All these things that have to do with my future and the next president will oversee them. Teenagers are smarter than you think. I am not suggesting that every 17 year old gets handed the right to vote, but I am saying if the government offered a class and 17 year olds participated in it, then the right to vote should be granted to them.

Another reason that the age should be dropped is because at age 17, most teenagers are still living at home with their parents. And what do most parents do? Watch the news, vote, and talk about politics. Also, at age 17 teens are still mostly in high school, which means schools can nurture voting into a social norm and encourage more teens to go out and vote. According to a study done by David E. Campbell, a professor at Notre Dame, adults especially in their 30s show a higher turnout rate if they went to a high school where a large portion of the student body believed that they should be allowed to vote. School classrooms aren’t the only place teens hear about the news and politics. We argue about this kind of stuff all the time.  Just the other day a friend and I were driving and Donald Trump came up as a topic, immediately it was an intent battle of politics. Teenagers are not all about parties, friends, drugs, and whatever else adults like to stereotypically shove onto all of us. We have thoughts and believe it or not most of them are good.

Mental changes between ages 17 to 18 are not that significant. In fact the brain doesn’t have significant change until after the age of 18. With all of these factors, I believe that with the right classes and starting guidelines, the United States Government should lower the legal voting age to 17.