Most proponents of lowering the voting age don’t appear to actually respect the decision-making abilities of teenagers—they just believe a younger voting population will be more likely to support their preferred policies. Proponents often cite the pro-gun control activism of survivors of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting as an example of younger voters being inherently more reasonable. Meanwhile, in both Oregon and Washington, D.C., the same legislators who say they want to empower youth by lowering the voting age have voted to raise the smoking age to 21.
It’s a shame these lawmakers see youth voting as a tool for gaining electoral advantage, not as one of the many rights due to teens as budding individuals.
Lawmakers in 13 states have introduced proposals since 2003 to expand suffrage to under-18s. So far, all of them have failed.
We should let teenagers make many more decisions than they’re able to now—including in civic life. It’s highly unlikely they’ll do worse than their parents.