Why the minimum voting age should not be lowered

Teenagers have enough to worry about without adding politics to the mix

(Kristen Frier)

(Kristen Frier)

Teens in Canada are creating petitions and asking for their voices to be heard for the future of their schools and general wellbeing. Many believe that this is the right direction. However, I disagree. 

When you turn 16, you face many new challenges related to relationships, learning to drive, or thinking about life after high school graduation. With all these changes and epiphanies happening, why add being able to vote to the mix?

With the possibility of a federal election looming this fall, there is a rising conversation about whether or not the minimum voting age should be lowered. 

Teen voices should be heard. They are the future generation, so they should have a say in who makes crucial decisions that affect them. However, there are many drawbacks outweighing the benefits of such a transition.  

The point that I am making goes beyond arguing “teenagers are too immature.” This is a view that many people already side with. My disagreement with moving the voting age goes deeper than immaturity.  

Let’s shine a light on the fact that many kids already have so much on their plate. Some may have part-time jobs and conflicts within their family or education, and it is most likely that these kids have no idea who they are in terms of the careers they may want to pursue after high school or what their values are, political or otherwise. 

There is nothing wrong with that. Being young means you get the time to figure out the world and how you fit into it. We can’t ignore the vulnerability of the 16-year-old mind. 

Peer pressure and social media have taken the world by storm, focusing on the age group of 10 to 15 being the most susceptible to it. With the young mind still in development, the chatter of nearby peers may be just enough to influence the votes of teens who crave the desire to fit in. 

This isn’t to say adults are not the target of peer pressure either, but when looking at some studies, teens are the most susceptible to such persuasion, which is one of the reasons why teens should not be given the option to vote. 

A lot of people also think that dropping the voting age to 16 will impact the number of voters and its results. However, when looking at the demographic representing young people below the age of 17 or the 18 to 24 age group, they are the smallest population compared to those in the 25 to 44 age group and older.

Even if teens at 16 could vote, it would not be enough people to impact the overall voting numbers. And that doesn’t count for the young people who just do not care enough to make these crucial decisions. 

At every stage in life, worries and change become a natural part of it. At 16, these worries should be focused on future careers, friends, romance, and school. Not politics. 

Many teens feel as if voting will give them some say and control in their future, and this determination is one we can look at fondly. However, statistically and logically speaking, dropping the voting age is not something that will likely benefit them to such an extent. It might just be better to leave it as it is and have these eager teens save their knowledge and give them space to figure things out for another two years.