The Instigator
Pro (for)
4 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

The U.S. Should Lower the Voting Age to 16.

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/7/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,435 times Debate No: 13908
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (5)
Votes (2)




I'd like to start off with a simple: Hello, people. Welcome to this debate. At this moment, I am hoping that anyone will accept this debate. Thank you, to the person that does.

I'd like to start off by saying that 16 year olds are mature. This debate is about the rights of 16-ers. If they are old enough to have jobs and have sex, then they are certainly old to make educated decisions about things that will have a big impact on their future.

This is taxation without representation. According to the IRS, American teenagers are responsible for 9.7 billion dollars in sales taxes alone, not to mention the amount of taxes on income! I quote: "Youths pay billions in taxes to state, local, and federal governments yet they have absolutely no say over how much is taken" or what is done with this money. I repeat: this is taxation without representation. The least we can do is to lower the voting age so that 16 and 17 year olds have a say. Policies such as minimum wage, working hours, and conditions are also determined by governments. If 16 year olds are old enough to have jobs, then they are old enough to be able to vote on things that will affect their future. I conclude this point by stating that 16 years of age, you can get a job. You also pay taxes, as stated before. It is undemocratic that you have no say in who manages and sets these taxes.

The Opposition may state that young people are not so well-informed. Well, they aren't well informed because they can't vote! If they cannot participate in a voting, what makes you think they will have the motivation to learn? They won't. Therefore, by lowering the voting age, teenagers will learn and be educated about politics at a younger age. A good example is "Kid's Voting." This is a simulation where children participate in a mock voting, such as the one held at my school, JM. Reports show that this activity increased the interest of voting in entire families! More parents discussed politics with their kids and were more likely to vote because of this. An estimated 600,000 adults were more likely to vote, according to the New York Times. I would also like to point out that students are learning much about politics in school, which also helps them to make more informed decisions. I'd like to sum up this argument by saying that this strengthens democracy and helps both adults and kids to make more educated votes. This is a new incentive for the public to become knowledgeable.

What the Opposition is likely to do is to exaggerate the chances of these kids being influenced by the 3 Ps: Peers, pressure, and parents. I'd like to point out, judge, that these are not 13 year-olds. These teenagers are 16 years of age. They are mature, their bodies are adult, they have experience, and they have been educated for at least 10 years. If 16-ers are old enough to have a job, and have sex, they are certainly old enough to control their life, according to the International Debate and Education Association.

There are just as many people out there who are uneducated about politics as there are who are educated. Let's think about it this way: if you are uneducated about politics, that means you don't care. And if you don't care; why should you vote? You see, people, according to the New York Times, many kids who don't know enough about what they are voting on actually don't vote. This means that there is less of a chance of the uneducated people voting.

I'm going to remind everyone of my arguments:

I. This is taxation without representation. One of the same things the Revolutionary War was fought over. This is a democratic country: it includes 16 year olds because they pay taxes and they have jobs.
II. Younger people are well-informed. However, there are some that are not well-informed. If we lower the voting age, then it will give them a reason to become well-informed.
III. 16-ers are not 13 year-olds. They are mature and have control over their life. If we can trust them to handle a job, we can trust them to withstand pressure and make the right decision.
IV. Most uneducated people don't care and therefore don't vote.

Guys, these are mature teenagers with control over their life and their job. They pay taxes. They have sex. They can make the right decision. Thank you, and please vote for the Proposition.


First I would like to thank my opponent for bringing up this topic and for letting me debate this. I am hoping for a good healthy debate.

First, since my opponent did not, I would like to look at a definition to run today's round by.

Mature: fully developed in body or mind, as a person

Now lets look at several of my opponents points first. My opponent brings up the idea of "taxation without representation" and brings up the IRS (no source?) that says teenagers pay 9.7 billion dollars in sales taxes alone. Of course they do! Teenagers love buying things. Whether it be food, drinks, clothes, video games, movies, or any other of the many things teenagers buy they are going to have to face a sales tax. Regardless of your age you face sales tax. If a ten year old wants to buy something he is subjected to sales tax. Does this make him ready to vote? Of course not. She then goes on to say that 16 year olds can get a job. Just because you can work at a McDonald's doesn't qualify you to vote. Sure getting a job at 16 is good for several reasons. They mature even more in a work setting and learn how to adapt to a work setting. Does this automatically make them fully aware of politics and prepared to vote? Not by a long shot.

This debate about lowering the voting age isn't only taking place in the United States. It is taking place all over the world. However, one things rings throughout most of the nations. People believe that 16 year olds just aren't ready enough to vote. I personally think that the age limit should remain the same. Whilst some young people mature earlier and have developed definitive opinions below this age, one thing I have learnt by my middle age is that our opinions and thoughts continue to develop throughout our life and that "maturity" is actually difficult to define. I think 18 is the right age, an age of independence for many, going to university, starting work etc and an age where people start to take responsibility for themselves and their future. Besides teenagers have enough to worry about." (BBC News. Source below)

She then goes on to state that the only reason teens aren't informed is because they can not vote. We can see through logic that this isn't true. I know people who are much older then the voting age who are uninformed about what they are voting about. Just having the ability to vote doesn't make them more informed or even give them the desire to be more well informed. She also says that students are learning about politics in school. The key word here is "learning." They have not learned everything they needed to know yet. They need to continue to learn about politics, history, and the way our government works before we can put a ballot in their hands and send them to the polls. They just simply aren't prepared yet.

My opponent then goes on to make her weakest argument of her case. She says that "16-ers are old enough to have a job, and have sex..." Wait up here! Is my opponent trying to advocate that once someone has sex they have the right to vote? That is absolutely untrue. Just because a teenager may have sex doesn't qualify them to vote. This is such a silly argument to advocate for people to vote. If we are to follow this line of thinking than having sex should be a qualification to vote since it some how proves that someone is mature. It does not prove this what so ever.

This whole argument that 16 year olds are well informed is also bogus. Teenagers are worried about homework, girlfriends, boyfriends, gossip, personal image, video games, clubs, Facebook, and a plethora of other things. Now we expect these kids that are too worried about not having a date to Prom to have the right to vote. They wont become magically well informed if they get the right to vote. Now I am not saying all teenagers are misinformed or uninformed. However, my opponent is advocating not just for the well informed teens, but also for those who are out partying under age because they want to fit in. She is also advocating for those teenagers who don't care about school and are failing all of their classes. She is advocating for the worst of teens as well as the best of teens. The worst teens either don't care to vote, or will vote with whoever they think is cool. So the election will no longer be about the issues, but who is the most "hip" or the most popular among their peers. Teens won't care about the president's view on the war on terror or about the welfare program. They will go along with what their peers do. We should know this because we either are or were teenagers.

My opponent's goal is a nice idea. However, we simply can see that most 16 year olds aren't well informed enough or mature enough to vote. Give them two years to learn more and get that high school diploma. At least then we know that those kids knew enough to pass their government class and that they have learned what was required of them to graduate. Teenagers aren't in control of their life yet. They can't get a better job then at a retail store or at a fast food chain because they don't have their diploma yet. What is two years going to be to a 16 year old? Let the teenagers be teenagers and enjoy high school. Let them have one less thing to worry about.

In closing I'd like to ask my opponent to please list her sources websites. She brings them up but supplies no sources.

Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting, and I am sorry I did not state my sources. Unfortunately, my source for the IRS is currently not working so I hope you will accept the following. <; [the 8th result down] OR <;.
Other sources, both for this speech and my previous one: that-s-set-to-change.html
&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7&ved=0CEQQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=international%20debate%20and%20education%20association%20voting%20age&f=false [and all other versions]
Encarta Reference Library
Now for my refutations. I'd like to issue some apologies to both my opponent and my audience for not completely restating my opponent's arguments, as I am pressed for both time and space.
My opponent stated:
"Teenagers love buying things..."
Yes, 10 year olds, too, pay taxes. But do they pay 9.7 billion dollars in taxes? I don't think so.
"She then goes on to say that 16 year olds can get a job…shot."
I was saying this to prove they can be responsible. Would people in general have allowed 16ers to have jobs if they were irresponsible? No.
"She also says that students…yet."
Everyone is always learning, from the 2 year old boy to the 70 year old grandmother. 18ers are also in school and still learning; yet we allow even them to vote. I'd like to ask my opponent to identify a source for this point. These 16ers are educated. Their knowledge is not limited to what they learn in school.
"Wait up here…ever."
Think of it this way: If 16ers were irresponsible, unintelligible, and immature, do you think society would grant them the right to have sex?
"This whole argument that 16 year olds are well informed is also bogus, etc...."
The informed teens outnumber the uninformed teens. As my opponent himself has stated, a good portion of "worst teens" don't care to vote. Also, TEENS ARE OUTNUMBERED BY ADULTS. This is teaching the teens how to be responsible and encouraging them to educate themselves more. THERE IS NO WRONG VOTE. I'd also like my opponent's source.
Teenagers are not as distracted as you think. To use your point, that is correct; I am vouching for both the bad and good teenagers – all 16ers. But so are you. Are you implying there are more uninformed teens than informed?
The Opposition may state that seduction overrules teenagers' ability to make decisions and their education. Yes, I will grant them that, but to balance the scales of truth – adults, too, can be seduced. According to recent scientific studies, adults are just as vulnerable to seduction as teenagers are. This was from "Behavioral Science" by Barbara Fadem. The Opposition may also say that these kids are irresponsible. If these kids are irresponsible, we should teach them to be responsible. By giving these 16ers a chance to vote, we are giving them an opportunity to be responsible. Furthermore, is there any direct evidence that they are irresponsible? No. The reason people believe 16ers are not responsible is because it hasn't been proven that they are. Why hasn't it been proven? Because we've never given them the chance!
The Opposition is probably going to bring up a very good question: If we are lowering the voting age to 16, why not 14? 10? Our society defines an adult as someone who is 18. This age is chosen arbitrarily. For that matter, why not set the voting age at 20? 25?
Now, let's look at this from a scientific standpoint. Studies have shown [NYT] that kids are maturing a lot faster than they did before. To quote the article: "…development has fallen by a full year compared to…studie[d/s] in the 1990s. The timing of puberty and maturity is changing." So yes, times are changing – for the better, in our favor.
Finally, let's look at this from a cultural standpoint. In Judaism, a Bar or Bat Mitzvah is held for 13 year old boys and 12 year old girls to celebrate their coming into adulthood. In the U.S., girls often celebrate their 16th birthday with "Sweet Sixteen." The Upanayanam, for the Brahmins, is held at 7. For Kshathriyas, it is held at 11. This is the Hindu ceremony for a "coming of age." In the Christian Confirmation, kids are generally confirmed at ages 13-14. Mexicans celebrate "sweet 15." [La Quinceanera Documentary] Are we going to ignore these traditions? If, in all of these cultures, these kids are accepted at age 7-16, are we to further deny these "adults" their rights? To clarify: We aren't saying we should allow 7 year olds to vote. We are saying this to prove that 16 year olds are mature.
I'd like to remind everyone that the U.S. is a democratic country, and so it is very important to include as wide a range of opinion as possible. Are 16 year olds not qualified citizens?
People, I've got tradition, culture, and science behind me to prove that 16 year olds are indeed capable, mature, and intelligent. They can make decisions.
Logic, science, and a variety of different cultures all say the same thing – 16 year olds can and will be mature-if you give them the chance. Here, I rest my case. Thank you very much for listening, and thank you, my opponent, for making this a spirited debate. Please do vote for Pro!


ZackJarvis forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Qynze 5 years ago
I think it's only for Chrome, if I'm not mistaken, because on my other browsers it shows up just fine.

Also, I went to a debate tournament yesterday. I started this debate in the hopes it would give me practice before I went to the tournament, in case I got this side, which is not exactly the side I would want...

But I did get the Pro side!
Posted by FREEDO 5 years ago
I'm thinking of arguing the resolution: The voting age should be lowered to 0.
Posted by FREEDO 5 years ago
Does anybody else see the page stretch? That's unbearable.
Posted by Qynze 5 years ago
Okay, and thank you for your suggestion.
Posted by studentathletechristian8 5 years ago
If I were to take this, I would prefer more statistics.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by THE_OPINIONATOR 5 years ago
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Vote Placed by Sojourner 5 years ago
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