How much say do kids and teens really have? Not much. Not when it comes to our futures, and the future of the world we’re living in. We protest, but time and time again politicians turn a blind eye. But what if they had to listen? What if our votes joined the ones of adults? If the Canadian voting age was lowered to 16, that could happen.
One argument for not letting 16-year-olds vote is that they won’t care enough to cast a vote. But young people will vote if given the chance. In Austria, 16- and 17-year-olds were found to be more likely to vote than older first-time voters between 18 and 20.
People also say that teens aren’t mature enough to vote at 16, yet we are mature enough to drive and get jobs. They wouldn’t take the right to vote away from adults just because some of them aren’t going to take it seriously, so why don’t they give it to us? A lot of teens want their voices heard, and just because some don’t care shouldn’t mean that the rest of us have to stay silenced.
If teens get to vote, when parents and teachers can hold us accountable, we will be more likely to continue to do so as young adults. Also, we will be inspired to do research and decide where we stand on issues facing us.
And speaking of issues that affect us, there are some major ones, like climate change and social justice issues. The generation before us holds a lot of power, the power to decide the course of our lives and the lives of future generations. By lowering the voting age, we will have a say when it comes to issues that will affect us more than anyone currently in power. Shouldn’t we be able to decide what our futures will look like?
Our voices need to be heard. And if politicians don’t respect that, we’ll keep fighting for the rights we deserve. No matter what the laws say, we can never be truly silenced.