The Instigator
Balacafa
Pro (for)
Winning
7 Points
The Contender
debatemaster163
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

The legal voting age should be lowered to 15 year olds

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Balacafa
Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 9/23/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 580 times Debate No: 80048
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)

 

Balacafa

Pro

Some ground rules. There are four rounds, 72 hours per round, 8000 characters in each round. Debaters should post all their arguments and sources in their rounds, and voters should consider nothing except the arguments and sources presented in the debate (comments not being considered part of the debate). I (obviously) have the burden of proof. The first round is for acceptance.

The presumption of the resolution is that the voting age is currently 18 or higher. I'll presume that the debate is set in a reasonably western society without regard for any particular jurisdiction or legal code. Because the cultural, educational and social background of youth may be relevant to the debate, I think it is fair that all cultures are considered, given that most reasonably western societies are quite multicultural. The vote we're talking about specifically is any general vote to determine legislative and/or executive office, as the case may be in that jurisdiction, in a national election format (so local body elections could be excluded etc).

I wish my opponent very good luck and look forward to a fun and spirited discussion!

R1 is acceptance and optional definitions.

debatemaster163

Con

I will accept this debate. Good luck and have fun!
Debate Round No. 1
Balacafa

Pro

My position today is simple - that 18 is not a justifiable boundry.

I originally typed this up in a word document so appologies if this comes out in a weird format because that sometimes happens with these things.

Engagement

The reason why youth are often scapegoated as apathetic and disengaged delinquients with no sense of responsibility is because the're excluded from all of these processes. Why care about who to vote for if you can't even vote? Why learn about government when the government won't learn about you? Why should you have a responsibility to listen to the law when the law isn't responsive to anything you say? These concerns that youth have are legitimate. Excluding youth from politics has naturally created political apathy, and more dangerously, political resistance. That is why youth are often behind cybercriminal activities - they are searching for a meaningful form of political expression. Why? Because over at the government, a bunch of grandparents are making decisions about them without them. 15 years is old enough to work. It's old enough to pay taxes. It's old enough to drive, be a millionaire, and in many countries, to leave school or get married.

The harm of political disengagement is threefold. First, it's a harm to society, who miss out on this very valuable subpopulation's opinions. The strength of democracy lies in the diversity of the voices it represents, creating incentives to improve life for all the voters. The harm is that young people cannot vote, and are thus usually excluded from that discussion. This is particularly pernicious when that discussion concerns what to do with young people and their problems, because youth have a whole set of political issues that almost exclusively affect them. Second, it's a harm to the disengaged students, who will usually carry forward that apathy or resistance to their adult years. Translation: higher crime, poorer voting, undemocratic society. And thirdly, it's a harm to the responsibility of society. Responsibility is learned, not earned with age. Schools are very good at teaching teenagers to be responsibile, but do not provide any incentives to. In fact, this kind of political disengagement is a strong disincentive. I don't think I need to justify to anybody that when we don't practice things as we learn them, we're not so good at them afterwards.

Education

For the same reason that business students are best placed to talk about business, or science students best placed to talk about science, so too are politics students best placed to talk about politics. 15 year olds are politics students. Put two and two together, and the point is that youth have the potential to be the most switched-on voters of them all. Youth are a huge group - my quick calculations show that this would increase the size of the voting population by about 10% in my country, and it's probably more in others. They have the potential to significantly affect the outcome of any given election. The net impact is, obviously, that better qualified candidates get elected, provided my premise holds true that youth are better qualified voters. In the long run, education is usually harder to forget if practiced both immediately and regularly thereafter. If nothing else, the fact that not only their social and economic future but also their educational future is at stake would provide greater incentives for them to actually use the resources that are available to them, which given the nature of the educational environment they are immersed in are much more objective and informative. In wider society, this more intelligent discourse brought about by young people can only improve the outcomes of the election.

On the other hand, despite the already impressive ability for young people to be politically active, giving them the vote would create incentives to learn more. Being engaged at school is generally hard when half the subjects one is taught bear no relevance to a young person's real life. By contrast, giving them the vote makes everything relevant and important to their immediate life.

Change

As people grow older, they become more conservative. This is a natural progression because people get used to existing social orders very easily given time. This is why so many old people were upset when they discovered in the early 90s (with the more widespread adoption of the internet and so on) that young people actually had political opinions. But the opinions of young people are quite different, because they reject these social orders and strive to create better ones. This has been happening for thousands of years, and as a result, the social orders have excluded the young from their ranks.

This is bad because our society is not perfect, and we want to improve it. Conserving the status quo won't change a thing, but it's what older voters are naturally biased to. That's why we need people who will make change happen. Usually, youth tend to be the most progressive of all demographics (not necessarily in the liberal sense of that word), which is good because it helps our society improve faster and breaks down the social barriers to political discourse, building democracy. Young people also have the greatest incentives to make positive change, given that they

Conclusion

I'd like to have a serious chat to whoever came up with the age of 18 for voting. It's completely arbritrary. It's conferring no social benefit. It's disenfranchising the young and harming the whole electoral process.
debatemaster163

Con

Most youths at 15 years old most likely have much more pressing things to worry about than politics and voting. Also, many youths will most likely just flip a coin and make a random choice because they do not care. 15 year olds should be worrying about grades, college, homework, and possibly driving. They should not be worrying about politics. Some 15 year olds will be too young to understand! Other ones will not take it seriously! 15 years old is simply too young of a age to start voting.

I apologize that my agrument is extremely short-- but it gets all my ideas across well.
Debate Round No. 2
Balacafa

Pro

"Most youths at 15 years old most likely have much more pressing things to worry about than politics and voting."

Like what? I cannot respond unless you can provide examples and I am sure that they can't be too busy to decide who will govern their country for the next 4 years (UK). I personally cannot think of any normal activity a 15 year old would have that voting could get in the way of. Yes, exams are important but there is no point in doing well in exams if you cannot afford to go to university.

"many youths will most likely just flip a coin and make a random choice because they do not care. "

Now, I'm sure that both me and you know that this is a stereotype without any evidence that argument is easily refuted.

"15 year olds should be worrying about grades, college, homework, and possibly driving."

Adult have work that they actually get paid for and they seem to manage. It is also incredibly beneficial because they get a say in the education department of voting. Adults wont necessarily focus in on that as much as children may want them to. They are no longer a child so it does not effect them as much it would effect a child voting. As I have said in my first rebuttal, deciding who governs your country for the next 4 years is not an insignificant thing and most 15 year olds will acknowledge this.

"They should not be worrying about politics."

Politics is extremely important for when they grow up. In my school they made me study politics until I was done with my GSCE (15 years old). When you leave school you are new and unfamiliar with the world. You cannot walk into modern society and not know the difference between left wing and right wing; labor or conservative - that wouldn't be right. Assuming you get a job with no relation to politics (because not everyone does) how are you going to learn the difference between the two. How are you going to know what each party stands for?


" Other ones will not take it seriously! "

How do you know? You haven't provided any evidence to support this claim, have you?




debatemaster163

Con

(Side note: I am from the US, so I don't know much about U.K. politics.)

"How do you know? You haven't provided any evidence to support this claim, have you? "

My evidence is my life.

"Now, I'm sure that both me and you know that this is a stereotype without any evidence that argument is easily refuted."

There is a lot of truth in this stereotype. I know many teenagers that view politics as a joke.

"Politics is extremely important for when they grow up. In my school they made me study politics until I was done with my GSCE (15 years old).

Really? Well in my school we don't study politics at all. It's not very academic and actual school subjects like Math and Language Arts should be put first.
Debate Round No. 3
Balacafa

Pro

"My evidence is my life."

There is no way of me knowing if you are lying or not and therefore personal experience is not considered as sufficient evidence.

"There is a lot of truth in this stereotype. I know many teenagers that view politics as a joke."

You may know many teenagers but you do not know all teenagers and if you did only then would you be allowed to make that claim without evidence from a source. As I mentioned previously, person experience is not enough alone to justify your arguments - especially in these sort of debates.


"Really? Well in my school we don't study politics at all. It's not very academic and actual school subjects like Math and Language Arts should be put first."

I never said that they should be put before maths and language arts. I merely stated that it is an important subject and people do learn it in schools. You cannot assume that all 15 year olds know nothing about politics and who they are voting for.
debatemaster163

Con

debatemaster163 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Topher1989 1 year ago
Topher1989
I'm going to vote for Pro. However, I do not agree with his argument. 15 year old adolescents will vote for whoever their parents vote for. At least, by 18, they've completed a high school education and can, perhaps, make an autonomous and educated decision.
Posted by BigBenConservative 1 year ago
BigBenConservative
There's a few things the contender hasn't brought up yet.
First the reason why the voting age in the us was 21 for a long time because many in science believe that is when your brain is fully developed. Now some in the field are saying 25. The reason it was lowered to 18 was because it was legal for people to join the military and at the time be drafted but it was illegal to vote. The argument was they were old enough to die for their country but not old enough to elect the leaders that would send them

That's a pretty compelling argument, there is one compelling enough for 15 or even 16 for that matter. The major issue is the vast majority of people under the age of 18 don't have that much exposure to politics besides what is discussed in their civics classes and even then they aren't that interested. I remember when I was in high school there was really only 30 or 40 students that were interested in politics out of 300. That's a little over 10%, so if it were lowered I'd say it be lucky if 30% of them actually vote. And then we will have more complaints of voter apathy and the left saying the right is suppressing the vote.

Not to mention most political exposure when you are that young is your parents and your teachers. And most teachers are left wing unionists. So they will slant your opinion that way. How I made it through high school being a libertarian I don't know.

So the main issue is lack of interest among the majority of youth and the left wings influence on youth although that's not as big an issue.
Posted by BigBenConservative 1 year ago
BigBenConservative
Teachers will be driving students to the polls to get the union backed left wing candidate elected. Socialism ftw lol.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Topher1989 1 year ago
Topher1989
Balacafadebatemaster163
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: He presented a better argument.