Philosophical Multicore

Sometimes controversial, sometimes fallacious, sometimes thought-provoking, and always fun.

An Argument Against Lowering the Voting Age, and Why It Stinks

Posted by Michael Dickens on March 21, 2010

Inspired by this page.

A common argument against lowering the voting age is that it isn’t a burden to wait a few years. Denying youth the right to vote isn’t the same as denying women or racial minorities, according to opponents, since in a few years young people will grow up and be able to vote. Why go through the trouble to lower the age to 16 when after two years they’ll be able to vote anyways? Were it that simple, then perhaps, but it isn’t.

Would it be acceptable to limit the right to vote to those with a certain income, reasoning that it is a flexible standard, those will less income must only work harder or wait till they too make enough to vote? No it wouldn’t.

This author is correct in his conclusion, but I do not like his supporting logic. His analogy to income is somewhat different. Simply increasing your income is not guaranteed, and requires hard work; aging is guaranteed and in fact requires very little effort. Still, though, saying that it isn’t a burden to wait a few years is a rather terrible argument. What if people were not allowed to vote from ages 25 to 30? They only have to wait “a few years” to get through that period. But besides the complete pointlessness of the restriction, it would be wrong. People aged 26 to 30 are completely capable of voting and they must live within the system and pay taxes. The same logic applies to people aged 14 to 18, or 16 to 18, or whatever lower voting age we would use (I rather like 14).

The original author stated, “Denying youth the right to vote isn’t the same as denying women or racial minorities, according to opponents, since in a few years young people will grow up and be able to vote.” The main problem here is that denial should not be the default response. The default response should be enfranchisement. Any time someone living within the system is not allowed to vote, there must be a very good reason for it. Young children, for instance, would be too easily persuaded by malicious people to vote for one candidate or the other. But what about older children? They live in society, so they should get a vote. It’s that simple. It is an injustice to prevent someone from voting unless there is a very good reason for it. Therefore, opponents of lowering the voting age should not be arguing that it’s not a big deal; rather, they should be arguing that it is a big deal, because people under 18 are incompetent.


9 Responses to “An Argument Against Lowering the Voting Age, and Why It Stinks”

  1. Vyshinavee said

    I think this is crap. 16 year olds should also be given the right to vote.
    If we are allowed to drive, join the military, work part time and pay all the taxes, why are we not allowed to choose who runs our country?

    • Khadija said

      [Khadija is the same person as Vyshinavee. -Michael]

      You moron! this is exactly why idiots like you are not allowed to drink!
      if we can’t trust you to get drunk, why would we le you choos who runs our country?

  2. Flash said


    Are you serious? read your statement again. You just said “if we cant trust you to get drunk, why would we let you choose who runs our country?”

    Now correct me if im wrong, but in the US of A (thats the United States of America if you didnt know) the legal drinking age is 21. Meaning that the country doesnt trust 18, 19, AND 20 years olds to get drunk, yet it does trust them to vote.

    So before you say something stupid, think will ya.

  3. bob d'bob said

    this is f@*king shocking! who do you f@*king think you are!? 16year olds are well matture! look at dis coment + u’ll c! stoopid assholes.
    fanks 4 listenin,
    peace out.

  4. Dave O. said

    I must say as a 17-year old, I absolutely agree that we should not lower the voting age. I feel we should raise the voting age. There are to many ignorant 18- and 19-year olds who vote without the facts about a candidate or said candidates politics. For democracy to work, there must be a truly informed voting base. If we lower the voting age, then we’re just increasing the number of idiots in the voter pool. I realize there are some intelligent and informed teenagers (I pride myself on being one of them), but to let the rest vote because you want to is preposterous as well as extremely selfish. Think about what’s best for the country.

    • Hi Dave, I’m glad to hear from you. I must say I definitely do not think the voting age should be raised. You could make the argument that there are many ignorant 18- and 19-year olds, but there are many ignorant 65-year olds as well. If we just allow intelligent and well-informed people to vote, we’ll have to have some sort of test (which would cause all sorts of problems) and then we’d have a huge group of people who are, essentially, told by the government that they’re not allowed to have opinions.

      It would make sense to lower the voting age, and I can definitely see the argument for keeping it where it is. The argument for raising it, though, has some negative implications.

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