Research

We get it. You might not want 16-year-olds to vote. Give us 5 minutes to convince you that this is a necessary step for our democracy.

How can lowering the voting age make a difference?

Research shows that voting is habitual. By making the voting age 16, we increase the possibility that a person will vote in the next election by 25 percent. The earlier people start voting, the more likely they are to become lifelong voters.

Are 16- and 17-year-olds mature enough to vote?

The truth is, 18-year-olds don’t have a sudden increase in political understanding. In fact, the most dramatic change in reasoning ability happens around puberty. At 16 and 17, we are ready and able to make thoughtful political decisions. Although it is true that teens are worse at impulse based decisions, the decision making process for voting involves “cold cognition,” a process that 16 year olds perform just as well as adults

60.1 percent of youth were employed in July of 2016. Older teens also drive, pay taxes, attend public schools and are sometimes tried in court as adults. Despite this, we have no say in electing officials who make the decisions that will impact our present and future.

Why are people any more likely to start voting at 16 than 18?

16 is simply a better life stage to begin voting. Age 18 is tough: Many are in the midst of major life transitions that make it a difficult time to take on the daunting prospect of registering to vote, especially if they are moving out of the state, and deciding how to vote. At 16, however, students are entrenched in the communities in which they grew up, working and attending school there.

Will 16- and 17-year-olds vote when given the chance?

Since the local voting age was lowered in Takoma Park, Maryland in 2013, 16- and 17-year-olds are turning out to vote at a rate about four times greater than the overall turnout.