The Instigator
Albatross
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Harman
Con (against)
Winning
16 Points

Teenagers and voting

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Harman
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/23/2010 Category: Education
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 7,555 times Debate No: 12402
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (3)

 

Albatross

Pro

I saw a debate of a similar nature on this site and decided it was not conducted rightly, so I have decided to re-do and see what happens

The Argument- the voting age should be reduced to 15

Definitions(if any are really needed)

vote- the right to vote in US governmental elections

I would like to begin with a little examination of what qualifies adulthood. Legally adulthood is reached at the age of 18, but many of us under the age of legal adulthood already exhibit the signs of maturity and good citizenship (the things I believe are required to vote). Many teenagers already deal with many of the things adults deal with, such as work and managing their own lives, as at this point in their life they are preparing for adulthood.

Seeing that teenagers, if not legally, socially are adults see no reason a teenager should be denied the right to vote. I believe the big question that could be put out there against this point is "Are we prepared?" and I would next like to answer that question.

The simple answer to that question is yes....the longer answer to the question is slightly more complex. In teenagers we see a wide range of maturities from childish to very socially responsible, but I also see that spectrum played out even with people who are legally adults, which makes me ask the question that I am debating here today. Does the simple fact that adults have been alive longer qualify them to vote, is a mentally disabled adult more fit to vote then a mentally competent teenager?. I would contend the answer is no

Seeing that age is not a factor I will move to others. Education is very important when we consider who should vote, but does education mean just graduating from high school and college?. Once again I say no, Many teenagers are educated very well even before they attain these 'symbols'. Im fairly certain there are a few debaters on this site that are teenagers and can hold there own in political debates. One of the founding fathers of this country had no high school or college degree and no one today would say they were not capable men. Seeing that education between adults and well applied teenagers is essentially the same I see no reason that this should disqualify us either.

In closing if maturity and education do not separate us then what else that matters really does?. And if nothing else does separate us then why are we denied the right to vote.
Harman

Con

While Pro is correct in saying there are teenagers under the legal voting age that behave in a manner that shows emotional and social maturity, and engage in activities that illustrate their good citizenship and political competence, that does not necessarily mean they should be given voting rights. Pro states that teenagers are "socially" adults, and are mature as adults. While there are exceptions, this is not necessarily true. Assuming that a teenager is a person between the ages of 13-18, Pro's argument is invalid. Teenagers have not finished developing socially or mentally, and their brains are not finished growing either. (1)(2)(3)(4) Because of this, teenagers tend to engage in what is described as "risky" or "emotionally immature" behavior.(2)(4) This explains why the number one cause of death in teens is accidental death caused by engaging in risky behavior, compared to the number one cause of adult deaths, heart disease. (5)(6) Teens also have trouble understanding and comprehending the consequences of their actions due to brain function. Is it ethical to allow a new demographic of socially and emotional retarded persons to vote? Can we really let those who biologically have trouble understanding cause and effect change our nation?

Teenagers are also still prone to imprinting, from both their parents and their peers. (2)(7)(8) As it turns out, teenagers political ideologies have strong correlations with those they associate with, such as their peers or their parents. (7)(8)(4) However, in adults, these correlations are far weaker. (7)(8) This means that teenagers who are freethinkers and can decide for themselves if a law matches the moral compass or is in their best interest are in the minority, as opposed to adults, who tend to be more independent in their politics. Can we truly allow those who force their ideologies to match those of who they socialize with to vote?

While I agree with Pro in the respect that education should not determine who gets to vote, and that mentally disabled adults are less suitable to be voters than teenagers, it does not justify that allowing teenagers to vote would lead to mob behavior and a mass of votes based solely on what others believe, and not what is their best interest at heart. Simply put, teens are at a biological disadvantage. Once that is overcome in adulthood, voting rights should be restored.

(1) http://www.jstor.org...
(2) http://www.questia.com...
(3) http://www.jstor.org...
(4) http://www.pbs.org...
(5) http://www.statisticstop10.com...
(6) http://www.statisticstop10.com...
(7) http://www.jstor.org...
(8) http://www.jstor.org...
Debate Round No. 1
Albatross

Pro

First I would like to thank Con for his arguments

I would first like to address the issue of teenager mental ability, Con has stated that teenagers brains are not fully developed either mentally or socially. I do not wish to argue with this statement as it is a well known medical fact, what I will contend with is the results of letting this demographic vote. Con says teenagers are prone to "risky" behavior and points out that the leading cause of teen death is "risky" behavior, this is not true, the leading cause of teen death is vehicle crashes, and if driving a car is "risky" behavior then adults are just as guilty as teenagers. He also stated that heart disease was the leading cause of death in adults, this is unfortunately true although im uncertain as to how a person dies has any determination on there cognitive ability to vote, are we to say AID's victims are less responsible then heart disease patients because they had unprotected sex with the wrong partner, something I would consider "risky" or "emotionally immature" behavior.

Con has also stated that teenagers are prone to "imprinting" from there parents and peer group, this is true, but then again most decisions anyone makes are heavily influenced by there upbringing(parents) and what other people think(peer group) regardless of age. Are we really saying that a 16 and 17 year old is just a mindless cog of the group but an 18 year old is free from this bias?....I do not believe so.

And finally con has stated that the intellectual free thinking teens who have the the want and ability to vote properly are in the minority, should we say that just because we are a minority we don't deserve the right, just because the majority will use it negligently?. once again I say the answer is no, we wouldn't think of doing that to any other group in society, so why should we do it to teenagers
Harman

Con

First off, I hope to remedy the confusion over the issue of the teen deaths. Pro states that the number one cause of teen deaths is car accidents. While this is true according to my citation, car accidents happen to fall under the larger category of unintentional injury, which includes the following: Drowning, Falling, Burning, Asphyxiation, Firearm, and others. (1) I make the casual assumption that these injuries could have been avoided, ergo, they were caused by behavior that was risky. However, to further prove my case, I offer hard evidence.

As I have already proved, teenagers are less responsible than adults. (2) They also have trouble understanding and comprehending consequences to their actions. Now, the percentage of teenagers who die of unintentional injury each year is 51.67%. (1) The number of adults who die of unintentional injury annually is 5.8%, in males. (3) Unless Pro can prove otherwise, I believe that it is safe to assume that the variable that caused this change between teens and adults is amount of mental development.

While I agree with Pro that a teen does not automatically develop on his eighteenth birthday, the majority of teens will have developed by this age. (2) Like Pro has suggested, some teens have already developed emotionally and socially, and have astute political analysis skills that some adults may lack. However, because the majority of teens will have not developed until adulthood, we can not allow them to vote. A fifteen year old simply does not have the ability to rationalize the consequences to their actions. How is it in the best interests of the country to allow a new demographic to vote who can not comprehend cause and effect? If Pro wishes to allow someone to vote even if they can not understand what the power of the vote truly is, I challenge him to answer why those under 15 shouldn't be able to vote? Why the age 15? Why not 14 year olds? Or 7 year olds? Or those fresh out of their mothers wombs?

(1) http://www.statisticstop10.com...
(2) http://www.pbs.org...
(3) http://www.statisticstop10.com...
Debate Round No. 2
Albatross

Pro

thank you Con,

On the subject of the unintentional injuries of teens you cite 51.67% as the percentage of teens who die of unintentional injuries, you consider these to be avoidable injuries that result from negligence. I will regard this as fact for the sake of the argument, but bear in mind the fact that adults consist of people ages 18-65 lets say, and teenagers only account for 13-18 years of age,this would cause a very vast percentile difference. Con further questions why I choose the age of 15 instead of 14, or even right out of the wombs, the reason for this is simple, most teenagers enter high school at this age, where they are taught civics and American/world history. these classes help develop the teens openness to government function and help them understand the importance of there vote, something you say they lack.

Con often talks about actions and there consequences, he often relates them in a regard that suggests one side of the vote is wrong and the other is right, this would be completely up to the individual voter to determine what he thought was right or wrong, there often is no right or wrong choice when it comes to a vote

As this is the last round I thank Con for his arguments, and leave the voters(some who are teens) to deciding who won
Harman

Con

While I do appreciate the fact the Pro conceded in my favor to the issue of teen deaths, I fail to understand his point about varying "percentile difference." This is unfortunate, as I would hope to counter this point, if only I could comprehend it. Hopefully, I will not be voted against for failure to understand what Pro had brought up. Perhaps in the future, Pro could consider being more articulate when elaborating his arguments.

My opponent states that teenagers should be able vote because the majority of teenagers will be taught civics and American or world history at this time. Pro offers no proof that the majority of teens in the U.S will take these classes at the age of fifteen, nor does he present evidence to the effect these classes have on a teenagers ability to comprehend issues and understand consequences like a mature adult voter can. This is yet another unfortunate mistake on Pro's part, he had the burden of proof and yet presented no evidence to his claims, not limited to the ones of which I discuss currently. Sadly, I must ignore this argument as well.

Pro is right in the sense that I do often discuss the importance of actions and consequences in voting, and I do talk about it in the sense that there is a right and wrong side of each vote. To further elaborate, I intended to suggest that a teen may think voting for X may be in his best interest, while X will lead to undesired consequences which the teen does not truly want. Because teens lack foresight, as previously stated and cited a multitude of times, the teen will not vote for Y, which is truly in their best interest. While it should hold not bearing in the arguement, I do not believe it is ethical for a person to vote if they are not intelligent enough to understand the power of their vote and how it will effect the world around them.

In conclusion, teenagers are not fully mentally and socially developed, and cannot fully comprehend the consequences to their actions, ergo, they can not rationally vote for what they truly believe in, assuming they even have personally beliefs, because, as I have already proved, teens political views correlate with that of their parents and peers. A vote for Con is encouraged. I thank Pro for his arguments, and wish him the best of luck on DDO. I hope to debate him again in the near future.
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by sadolite 7 years ago
sadolite
"I have considered a competence test for all who wish to vote, but thought it was a bit radical for this debate"

What is radical about understanding the consequences of your actions?

A person should have to have a full understanding of what a Republic form of govt is and be able to spot politicians who would attempt to destroy it by poisoning it and destroying it with socialist and communist legislation designed to evade the constitution rather than operate with in it. I am all for testing. Virtually no one would have voted for Obama if they understood what his ideology was. Except of course socialists and communist. In my opinion there can be no more "bipartisan" legislation anymore. This can clearly be seen with the voting in congress on virtually all legislation put forth by the Dem's. The conservative population is done with caving in to the liberal population. The right has gone as far left as it is going to go and the left hasn't even got close to where they want the country to be........... Cradle to grave security for all and total govt control of all. You cant have one without the other.
Posted by MirzaYaqub 7 years ago
MirzaYaqub
"In teenagers we see a wide range of maturities from childish to very socially responsible, but I also see that spectrum played out even with people who are legally adults..." - you can see this spectrum in every age, and I can say, without any doubt, that there are 12-year-olds who are much more mature than legally adult people - there must be a certain age barrier, after which most of the population (or bigger parts of it) are considered responsible and mature. Physically, people become sexually mature around the age of 18 (that doesn't only mean they know how to make children and have the tools for doing this - pardon my harshness, but it also means being mentally prepared for raising children - and this including being responsible, considerate etc. ), hence you can't be sure that 18-year-olds will be more mature that 15-year-olds, but they are more likely to be mature, and statistics speak for themselves.
Posted by Harman 7 years ago
Harman
Not to mention the cost. Who would want to pay extra taxes for a political minority that could care less if they could vote or not?
Posted by Albatross 7 years ago
Albatross
I have considered a competence test for all who wish to vote, but thought it was a bit radical for this debate
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
Nicely debated. Clear arguments resented by both sides.

Con provided the evidence and all the right arguments, so it was a clear win. Having a small minority of teens qualified does not mean that the general rule should be changed. Pro might have proposed early qualification based upon taking a special in-depth civics test.

Traffic accident *rates* are much higher for teenagers. Since their reflexes are as good or better than older people, it is lack of judgment that prevails.

In Japan, the "age of maturity" is 20, and there is talk of lowering it to 18. Surprisingly, nearly half the teenagers are opposed to lowering the age. My speculation is that the weight of responsibility bears more heavily there.
Posted by dollydo 7 years ago
dollydo
What about a thirteen year old? There are many thirteen year olds who are just as competent as fifteen year olds. Should thirteen year olds have the right to vote? This could go on and on! You do both agree that society needs to set some sort of age requirement for voting, right? I think society has come to the decision that eighteen years of age is the appropriate number. I agree with Albatross, that there are many fifteen year olds who are just as competent as some eighteen year olds. But there are also many fifteen year olds that are not. Society has decided that eighteen year olds, for the majority, are more "adult-like" and should be granted the right to vote. Maybe the law should state that as long as you are a tax payer you should have the right to vote. Since tax payers should have a say in how there money is being spent. If the voting age was reduced to fifteen, couldn't one assume that other laws might change. For example, drinking age, smoking age, etc. Most fifteen year olds still reside at home. I'm not sure many parents would condone their children having these rights when they are still under the care and responsibility of their parents. Just a thought! :)
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Dingo7 7 years ago
Dingo7
AlbatrossHarmanTied
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Vote Placed by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
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Vote Placed by Yvette 7 years ago
Yvette
AlbatrossHarmanTied
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