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The Voting Age in the U.S.A. Should Be Lowered to 14

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/12/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 457 times Debate No: 89575
Debate Rounds (3)
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The voting age in the U.S. should be lowered to fourteen years of age. The rationale behind this is that the working age in the U.S. is fourteen. Now, if one is working a pay-check job, then the government is charging taxes on that pay-check. And if one is being taxed by the government and they do not have the right to vote, then that is taxation without representation. Taxation without representation is one of the reasons why the U.S. broke away from British rule in the first place, so it is ironic and somewhat ridiculous that the U.S. now imposes taxation without representation on anyone between the ages of 14 and 18 who is working a pay-check job.

There are basically three logical arguments that I can think of that are on "my side of the fence", so to speak:
1. Total Agreement. "The voting age should definitely be lowered to 14."
2. Compromise. "The voting age should be lowered, but not to 14; it should be lowered to 15, 16, or 17."
3. Alternative solution. "Voting rights should be based on something other than age, such as credit score, employment, level of education, or some other basis."

You may agree with one of the above opinions, or you may have your own opinion. I hope that I see lots of original positions, different from the ones listed above. Thank you for joining or commenting on this debate.


Because of working restrictions on children under 16, dependent 14-year-olds most likely don't make enough money to have to file an income tax return, and considering, then, the incredibly low statistic of 14-year-olds with jobs in the first place - no, 14-year-olds shouldn't be allowed to vote, based on this argument.
Debate Round No. 1


You are arguing that the group of 14-year-olds who are employed is too small?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (, in 1999 roughly a quarter of 14-year-olds held non-freelance, meaning paycheck, jobs. If 25% is too small a group, then you might as well argue that black people shouldn't be allowed to vote - after all, they make up only about 13.2% of the U.S. population, according to the United States Census Bureau ( 25% is, by no means, a negligible minority.


That is... an offensively absurd argument, no, I'm not suggesting minorites not be allowed to vote. What? The issue is that if only 25%* of 14-year-olds work, that means, for starters, SIGNIFICANTLY less than 25% of 14-year-olds would be paying taxes (keep in mind, the entire basis of your argument is on the precept that 14-year-olds should be able to vote because they pay taxes) because of working restrictions. So, let's say the actual percentage of 14-year-olds who pay taxes comes out to 2%, you are then arguing that 98% of 14-year-olds who don't pay taxes also deserve representation - therein lies the problem. It's not that 2% is too small, it's that 98% is too big and it, frankly, isn't warranted.

*that statistic is from '94-'97, not '99, and is also likely outdated (though we'll never know, as there isn't a lot of officially published research on the subject).
Debate Round No. 2


All right. I will change my argument, then. There are about 4,200,000 fourteen-year-olds and many, many more 14-18 year-olds ( We are currently denying about 16,000,000 Americans the right to vote. Now, some may argue that high-schoolers are too young and ignorant to understand the politics of the U.S., but this is simply not true. In fact, millennials are more involved and concerned with politics than any previous generation of 14-18-year-olds (,(

So, millions of young Americans are being denied the right to vote on the basis that they're too ignorant, while millions more older Americans are voting for the likes of Trump. (Now, dear voters, I know this will bring down the hordes of Trump supporters on this website, so please try to ignore them).


*Neither citations you used to confirm your statement that more 14-18-year-olds are involved and concerned with politics today used 14-18-year-olds as a reference, BOTH of the citations you cited quite clearly said the sample was between the ages of 18 and 36. Thus the new basis for your argument is invalid.

It should be noted that I think the law is less in place because teenagers are "ignorant" (I was one not very long ago however and can attest: they are), but because they lack experience and, perhaps most importantly, a fully-developed ability to make rational decisions. I mean this scientifically - it has been observed that teenagers don't have very active frontal lobes (this is the rational thought center of the brain) when making decisions, and rely more on their brain's limbic system (more emotional / reactive basically). (1) This is why, for example, teenagers are so stereotypically prone to peer pressure, and stupid decisions. Anecdotal, but back when I was starting college I used to give high school kids stick-n-poke tattoos on the side for cash, and, believe me, this tendency was on full display.

Plus, while Trump is, frankly, rather irrelevant in this argument, it isn't as if teens ubiquitously hate Trump, thus proving their rationality. (2)



Side note: Not bad, but do know that it's generally not good debate form to change the basis of your argument in the final round, when we should both be drawing our conclusions. You should have still attempted to find some way to counter my point. You could have, for example, argued that ANY tax payer should be afforded the right to vote, regardless of age, and possibly argued that the large percentage of teens in the age bracket who DON'T pay taxes don't invalidate the ones that may still DO. You could have further argued that enough legislation occurs regarding teenagers without their consent - concerning their education, their employment, even their sex lives - that not giving them the right to vote essentially makes them second class citizens to be acted on by government but without a voice, etc.
Debate Round No. 3
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