At what age should young people be allowed to vote?

A letter to the editor by Ian MacKenzie

To the editor:

At what age should young people be allowed to vote?

The reason for the question is that the high school students in the Florida school that was shot up recently certainly seem to demonstrate more common sense and be more effective at getting change to gun control than have any adults in that second amendment country.

So why don’t we lower the voting age here in B.C. to 16, as they did in Scotland in 2015, Argentina in 2012, Austria in 2010, Brazil in 1988 and in many other constituencies?

The results in those countries indicate that the earlier people vote for the first time the higher the turn out to vote in subsequent elections. We could certainly use an increase in voter turnout.

Why should society allow 16-year-olds to drive, get married, pay taxes, serve in the military, and make serious decisions on career paths, yet not encourage them to put into practice what they are learning at that time in their social studies classes about civics and governance? They probably have more knowledge, fresh in their minds, of the strengths and weaknesses of our voting system than most adults.

I’m sure that 16-year-olds in British Columbia have as much common sense as their peers have in Florida, and we should allow them to help make a better world by giving them the vote. After all, it’s the world they’ll have to live in the rest of their lives.

Ian MacKenzie


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