Let 16-year-olds vote

The argument for allowing young people to vote is the same as the argument for allowing anyone to vote. The United States was founded on the central insight that if you have no voice in your government, you will be mistreated. Disenfranchisement is the first step towards injustice. The vote is essential for liberty and equality in a democracy. That’s why the colonists rebelled against Britain. It’s why women, black people, and other marginalized groups have fought to be included in the franchise since America was founded…

Politicians are responsible to voters. Young people can’t vote, so it’s not surprising that a politician like Feinstein wouldn’t feel responsible to them. Yet, as the kids say, they are going to be the ones who primarily have to live with climate change. Their futures will be warmer and bleaker because they are excluded from the polity. That’s unjust.

There are also practical reasons to lower the voting age. Many people bemoan low voting rates in the US. One of the best ways to encourage voting is to get people in the habit of voting; once you start to go to the polls, you’re likely to continue.

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