Will 16-Year-Olds Be the Next Group to Get the Right to Vote?

An Irish constitutional convention of 66 random citizens, 33 parliamentarians, and a chairman met and discussed lowering the nation’s voting age from 18 to 16. Fifty-two of the delegates voted to lower the voting age to 17, and 25 of those also voted to lower it to 16.

If the Irish parliament at large votes in favor of lowering the age to 17 after the majority of convention delegates did, the issue will go to a national referendum.

During its meetings the convention listened to testimony about Austria, which lowered its voting age to 16 in 2007. It also heard testimony arguing that enfranchising 16-year-olds would help reverse waning youth interest in politics by making it a habit early on. They added that at that age students learn about government in civics classes.

This seems worth talking about in America, given the popularity of talking about youth in elections and our government’s support of "democracy" elsewhere. 

What is it that is inherently good about voter participation? Do we benefit from adding voters who need to be dragged out of bed to vote? Should we worry about the government supporting adding voters who’ve just read the government texts in public schools? And will 16-year-olds vote for things that benefit them economically? (I don't think so.)

Those of us in our twenties can remember a lot of uninformed, messy-thinking 16-year-olds. But in fairness to teenagers, we can find a whole lot of those in their twenties, thirties, forties, eighties, and nineties, too?

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

MORE FROM

Kshama Sawant on why Seattle needs an independent investigation into the Charleena Lyles shooting

Seattle City Councilperson Kshama Sawant, member of Socialist Alternative party, discusses the Charleena Lyles investigation, tenant voter registration, why Hillary Clinton lost in 2016 and more.

The EPA seeks to undo clean water rule, putting 117 million Americans' water at risk

The new rule could have "long-reaching consequences for everyone living in the United States.”

This small Ohio town might stop treating heroin overdoses to save the city money

"People will die. It's plain and simple."

Here's what New York's first official LGBTQ monument will look like

Here's our first look at New York's new monument to LGBT communities.

How will Trump's travel ban be enforced? Here's what the Supreme Court's decision really means.

The Supreme Court's order prevents most of the ban from taking effect before the case is heard, with limited exceptions.

Tick saliva could be the key to fighting a dangerous heart condition

Ticks could hold the secret to treating this heart condition.

Kshama Sawant on why Seattle needs an independent investigation into the Charleena Lyles shooting

Seattle City Councilperson Kshama Sawant, member of Socialist Alternative party, discusses the Charleena Lyles investigation, tenant voter registration, why Hillary Clinton lost in 2016 and more.

The EPA seeks to undo clean water rule, putting 117 million Americans' water at risk

The new rule could have "long-reaching consequences for everyone living in the United States.”

This small Ohio town might stop treating heroin overdoses to save the city money

"People will die. It's plain and simple."

Here's what New York's first official LGBTQ monument will look like

Here's our first look at New York's new monument to LGBT communities.

How will Trump's travel ban be enforced? Here's what the Supreme Court's decision really means.

The Supreme Court's order prevents most of the ban from taking effect before the case is heard, with limited exceptions.

Tick saliva could be the key to fighting a dangerous heart condition

Ticks could hold the secret to treating this heart condition.