SHS Students Stance on Oregon Voting Age Being Lowered to 16

I Think I Should Vote, But Should Other People my Age?

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SHS Students Stance on Oregon Voting Age Being Lowered to 16

Aurora Stanley

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Recently Oregon lawmakers have announced a bill that is in the process of being passed that would lower the states legal voting age to 16, the motion goes to be voted on in 2020, and has been proposed as students are calling for adults to save their future, so now students might be given a voice in doing so. 

When announcing the measure Oregon Senator Shemia Fagan said that youth should have  “a chance to participate in the ballot — about decisions that affect their homes, their clean air, their schools and, as we’ve seen, their very lives,”. (The Oregonian)

Many politically involved students are happy about this. They love that they can be a part of a collective voice to save their future, but then they look to their peers. And they see what we all see in our peers, teenage immaturity and stupidity that we all feel we are the obvious exception to. This has risen as a hot debate as many students feel they know enough to vote, but they are worried about the damage their peers could do if given a voice too early in the political arena.

When asked if he thinks he could make an educated vote, and if his peers could Scappoose High School Senior Cameron Pisha said “I would vote, yes, but I would do a lot of research first. I think that they (16 year olds) have their opinions, but I don’t know if they’re educated enough because honestly some people just jump to conclusions. They hear a lot of fake news nowadays, obviously, and believe it. So I think they need a bit more time to think about it and mature, make sure they get the truth.”

The debate has started all across Oregon, with many students and adults both happy and fearful of what this bill could mean. As a whole, many believe that 16 is to young to vote, that you are not an adult and most teenagers aren’t politically knowledgeable. Others say many adults aren’t knowledgeable but can vote, so give us a voice to save our future.

When asked if she personally thinks this bill should be passed SHS Senior Destiny Huffman said “ I do not think this bill should pass. While 16 is only two years younger then the voting age currently, I feel like there’s still a lot of immaturity at 16 compared to 18.”

Many disagree and are more in line with what Senator Fagen claims about current laws affecting students lives. But many still feel that 16 is an age where many people are not actively involved in politics and are still immature. To an extent that does not magically change when one becomes an adult, so many believe that instead of lowering the voting age to 16 it should be raised to 21 when the brain is fully developed.

SHS Junior Violet Ebert lies in the middle of this, saying “ I think it should just stay at 18 because you are an adult, so you should have a say in what happens in your life.”

Realistically this bill is still a year away from even being voted on, but a lot can change in a year. The political mood shifts with the 2020 Presidential election will no doubt have an impact on whether or not this bill is passed, so while it is up to the future voters to decide on a conclusion for this bill, the debate can only continue to rise until that decision is reached.