Ought to Teenagers Beneath 18 Vote? Specialists Weigh In


Youth activists have been calling “B.S.” on authorities officers in a method that adults can’t seem to do, especially as of late. Following the varsity taking pictures in Parkland, Florida, earlier this month that has raised a lot dialog concerning the political energy of younger folks, Teen Vogue talked to seven political influencers and requested them a single query: What if all youngsters may vote?

However let’s not overlook that some youngsters can vote — 18- and 19-year-olds. Shannon Watts, founding father of Moms Demand Action, a frontrunner within the work to finish gun violence, reminds us that four million 17-year-olds will flip 18 earlier than the midterms.

“Millennials haven’t turned out in big numbers in midterm elections. That needs to change in 2018,” Watts tells Teen Vogue. “I want them to engage, vote, and then run. They don’t have to wait until midlife to run. College-aged Americans should consider politics as a career. Especially women, who make up only 17% of the 500,000 elected positions in America. We can’t wait, and given the policy crises in our nation — like gun violence — there’s a moral imperative to step up.”

Right here’s what the others needed to say.

“Teens are racially and ethnically more diverse than older generations, so I think they could not only fast-track immigration reform, but also help continue the promising trend of electing leaders who look more like America. It’s inspiring to feel teens’ energy and to see the nation looking to them as leaders on the gun violence issue. Leadership isn’t always a top-down thing. Often it swells up from those with less institutional power. If they could vote, our nation would be a better place.”
— Shannon Coulter, co-founder of #GrabYourWallet, an moral client group

“If teens could vote, then the overall youth vote would outnumber the baby boomers. We could turn the page on that generation’s domination of our politics.”
— Justin Hendrix, govt director of NYC Media Lab

“Teenagers are often cast as an impulsive, selfish, erratic segment of our society. In fact, they are some of the purest, most idealistic, most honest people we have. They tend not to have in their lives the mortgages and salaries and non-disclosure pacts and stroller-status anxieties that corrupt people older than them. They think the things they think simply because they think them, not because it will position them well relative to Bob in Sales for Monday’s conference call. If they were to vote, they might just help us get out of the impulsive, erratic, selfish moment we managed to get in because we didn’t listen to them.”
— Anand Giridharadas, journalist and writer, most lately of Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World

“If we let teens vote in 2018, politicians will finally have to give a sh*t what young people think — they’ll have to actually earn the vote of the generation who will feel the long-term impact of their decisions. The kids dealing with gun violence, flooding streets, crappy health care, or four-day school weeks — to name just a few — will be heard. And! We’ll be able to create the habit of voting earlier in life. More regular voters is generally a good thing for democracy.”
— Amanda Litman, co-founder of Run for Something, a gaggle that recruits and helps progressive millennial candidates operating for workplace

“Out of the bloodstained hallways of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School rose the powerful, articulate voices of the surviving students. In memory and honor of their murdered classmates, they’ve become eloquent advocates for much-needed, long-overdue gun control. They’re no longer willing to cede the issue to the adults in power. They’ve seized responsibility for their own lives and the lives of their classmates across America. They’ve offered America a compelling political voice which cannot be silenced by a talking point or buried by a news cycle. They’ve taken what is rightfully theirs; a major voice in America’s political discourse. Perhaps most importantly, they’ve shown us all what real leadership looks like. Any member of Congress who ignores America’s teens does so at his or her peril — and these kids do not yet even have the right to vote! I’m convinced that if teens could vote in 2018, we’d see the political demise of entrenched federal, state, and local politicians across the country.”
— David Leopold, former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association

“Teenagers at this time are the primary era to have grown up figuring out that climate change isn’t just theoretical. It’s right here and it’s now. So that they’re not going to take a seat again and do nothing as a result of they’ve probably the most to lose. If teenagers may vote, they’d prioritize local weather motion; they wouldn’t deny local weather science; and they might problem us all to do greater than we thought was potential. Let’s assist them, as a result of theirs would be the era that can heal this planet.”
— Daniel Zarrilli, New York Metropolis’s senior director of climate policy and programs


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