The Instigator
Con (against)
7 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
10 Points

Voting Age Should be Lowered to 16

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/4/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 22,782 times Debate No: 26875
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (3)




Voting Age Should not be Lowered
There are three main reasons why voting age should not be lowered, these are: 16 and 17 year olds are not mature enough, they do not yet have enough experience or are as aware of the world around them and the way it will effect their lives and that 16 and 17 year olds and their lack of understanding on the responsibility of casting a vote

Firstly, are 16 and 17 year olds mature enough to handle a vote? No, they are not. If they are not yet considered mature enough to be in the army, protecting and making decisions for their country, they are definitely not mature enough to decide the future of themselves and others. Most 16 and 17 year olds do not pay taxes, so therefore none of their money will go towards the way their government is running the country. If 18 year olds are not yet mature enough to walk into a pub how can they be mature enough to decide the future of an entire country. As well as this your brain is still not fully developed until you turn 30.

16 and 17 year olds have not got enough experience of the world to vote. They will not have had a long term job or the responsibility of running their own lives but the proposition would hand the way the country is run to a 16 year old? If you would not trust an average 16 year old with your life why would you give them our country. We do not have 16 or17 year old politicians so why have voters that age? They will both do the same, decide the future of the country.

Could a 16 or 17 year old handle the responsibility of voting? You are only allowed to be part of a jury when you are 18 and older, making the decision that could change someone's life forever. This shows they could not handle the responsibility of deciding the future of millions of the other people in their country.
So no, they could not handle this responsibility.

So as I have shown 16 and year olds should not get a vote, if you disagree please accept my challenge!



Hello, Con! I am excited to debate this issue for many reasons: my primary one, however, is because I have not debated in a long time and this looks like a good debate to get myself back in gear. It is an interesting idea, and you make some pretty interesting points. However, I feel I can counter them, and provide a few good reasons of my own for why the voting age should be lowers, or, at least, why eighteen year olds are no more responsible or mature than a sixteen or seventeen year old. I know that this will fulfill my burden of proof, but it will at least, hopefully, show why your arguments are not quite as good as you may believe them to be, in my opinion. That being said, let's start with rebuttals!

Rebuttal 1: Maturity

My primary issues with this point are that you have not provided statistical support for your claim, and you are begging the question. You are basing your reasoning behind why you believe eighteen year olds are more mature than sixteen year olds on things such as military age. However, this conclusion is under the assumption that eighteen year olds are mature enough to join the military, or that sixteen year olds are not mature enough to. The primary reason why the age to join the military is eighteen and not sixteen is because most sixteen year olds are in high school. This is not a problem of maturity, but a problem of circumstance.

Of course, I can also turn this argument around and say that, because sixteen year olds are mature enough to own and drive a car, they should be allowed to vote. I am sure you disagree with this reasoning: but why? It is the same reasoning you are using with why they should not; I'm only turning it on its head. In fact, you made this point for me! “If 18 year olds are not yet mature enough to walk into a pub how can they be mature enough to decide the future of an entire country.”

I would hardly say that the amount of teenagers paying taxes is low: “At any given time approximately 45% of 16-17 year olds will be working and up to 80% of all teens will have a job before they graduate from high school. ” (1) If you have a job, even as a teenager, you pay taxes. That does not even take into account the fact that teens overall spent an estimated 9.7 billion in sales taxes alone! (2)

Our brain is not fully developed until we hit thirty. Indeed. Are you arguing that we should increase the voting system, then, to 30?

Rebuttal 2: Experience

Why would you not trust a sixteen year old with your life? What about a sixteen year old makes them more untrustworthy than an eighteen year old? Furthermore, sixteen year olds cannot run for office. This is true. However, neither can an eighteen year old. Can you guess what the youngest age you can be to run for any political office in the United States of America? 25. (3) Are you arguing that we should raise the age to 25? But they are not fully developed themselves; so, 30? Yes, most 16 or 17 year olds have not had a long-term job or have run their own lives. But neither will an 18 year old: in fact, most people will not have this responsibility until they leave college, which is usually around 22 (given that post people finish college with a bachelor's degree).

This is not even mentioning the fact that, whoever is on the ballot, adults will vote for at the same percentage as children. If children can vote bad, than adults can vote bad as well. There is no objectively wrong vote, though; one's opinion is their own. Your basic argument regarding the whole untrustworthy children when it comes to making decisions is one that can be applied to any adult. After all, I wouldn't trust just any adult with my life. Sixteen year olds would have the same options as adults.

Rebuttal 3: Responsibility

That logic is just silly. You must prove that a sixteen year old cannot fulfill the role of a juryman. The primary reason they are not is, once again, a problem of circumstance: being on jury requires that you miss school. Furthermore, juryman are decided based on voting registrars; you have to vote to be a part of a jury! So, this begs the question: 16 or 17 year olds cannot vote because they cannot be juryman because they cannot vote. This is circular logic.

Point 1: No taxation without representation

It is what the founding fathers fought for: teenagers pay quite a bit in taxes, as I have already pointed out in rebuttal one. As such, they deserve the same level of representation as others who pay taxes. Indeed, they may not pay the same amount in taxes as everybody else, but circumstances have always been a factor in what taxes are given to what people. After all, 47% of people do not pay income tax, because of age or socioeconomic standing (most are elderly or poor, or both).

Point 2: Stability

Sixteen and seventeen are good times to vote, stability-wise. Eighteen is one of the worst times, in fact. Sixteen and seventeen year olds are stationary; they attend school and have a regular social life. They have no real major changes that affect their lives. However, eighteen year olds are generally transitioning to colleges, attempting to find stable employment, and sometimes trying to find a place to live. This is also a time of economic instability: after all, college is significantly more expensive than anything you'll need to pay for in high school, and those who do not go to college still need to find a way to sustain themselves outside of their parent's homes. They are still trying to settle down.

Point 3: Voter Turnout

Voter turnout will increase if you lower the voting age. Studies such as Merrill's study of five states that had implemented a program called Kids Voting USA, which gives children information on voting and politics, and five states that did not implement the program. He found that parent turnout increased three percent, due to parents being inspired to vote due to their kid's enthusiasm to voting. The number was as high as nine percent in some states! (4) It would be logical, therefore, that voter turnout would increase in both children and adults if the voting age was lowered.

Point 4: Unique point of view

Voters will, obviously, vote based on their circumstances in life. As teenagers have a different point of view as, say, a mentally senile seventy-three year old man (who has just as much right to vote as a mentally stable thirty year old), they will provide a unique point of view to the election. Along with that, their views will be heard and considered by politicians when they make political decisions that affect things such as education and raising or lowing minimum wage, as just a few examples.


I eagerly await my opinion's response. This was a lot of fun! Best of luck to my opponent; his opinions are interesting, but I am curious of his actual position: is he in favor of keeping the minimum age of voting at eighteen? Or is he in favor of increasing the voting age? Based on what he said, it seems like the latter. If that is the case, this should be a very interesting debate indeed.


(1) (WARNING: This is a PDF file. You'll need some form of reader to access it.)
(2); second point

Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for such interesting rebuttal,I look forward to rebutting your arguments!

Maturity: this link tells about the difference in adult and adolescent brains, I hope it gives you enough statistical and technical evidence to prove the validity of my points.

In adults, various parts of the brain work together to evaluate choices, make decisions and act accordingly in each situation. The teenage brain doesn't work like this.The prefrontal cortex, a section of the brain that weighs outcomes, forms judgments and controls impulses and emotions. It may not fully develop until your mid-20s. I believe this evidence shows the point I am making about a teenager's brain not being developed enough to handle decisions about the country's future.
I also believe the point you made about sixteen year olds being in high school works in my favour, because surely the fact that they are still in school (a very sheltered less competitive environment than the adult world) proves they are still not mature enough to have a vote. As well as this, I do not think it is a case of circumstance not being in the army as at 16 you can leave school if you so desire meaning at you can get a job, and being in the army is a job. However, though it is a job, what you do can affect the lives of millions of people and it is for this reason that I do not believe they should be in the army or have a vote. Also I am very sorry for saying “If 18 year olds are not yet mature enough to walk into a pub how can they be mature enough to decide the future of an entire country.” I actually meant 16 as I am from the UK and 18 year olds can go into pubs at this age. Sorry if I confused you!
You made a point about being able to drive at 16, my rebuttal to this would be that handing a teenager a car puts their life, and the life's of a few others in their power, handing a teenager a vote puts the lives of millions of others in their hands. On top of this teenagers are taught to drive, through vigorous months of training and exams. Teenagers are not taught to vote, they do not have to sit tests or exams, yet they are in control of much more. I believe that a teenagers training to vote is their lives and experiences as I will go on to say in my rebuttal to experiences.

I do not believe that the voting age should be raised because of experience. 18 is when you emerge into the adult world, hold a stable job. I do not think being 16 makes you untrustworthy but I do believe your decisions making ability is not developed enough at that age to trust them with the future of a country. On top of this I think teens need experience in the adult world before being given the chance to change it. Life is a 'voting lesson' and experience is what helps you make decisions. I believe you helped my point by saying: 'most sixteen year olds are in high school' this is completely true, they are, which means they will not have experienced providing for themselves or being completely in control of their lives. If a teen has not got full control on their lives why would you give them full control on everyone in your country's lives. Most university/college students live on their own, not with their parents, which means they have to pay for themselves (and schooling funds) cook for themselves and work. I think this is sufficient enough experience to trust someone with a vote.

The reason a 16 year old is not a juryman is that their prefrontal cortex is not yet developed. As well as this they may be influenced or pressurised by their elders. Just as they are in normal life. At 16 teenagers still are developing their values and opinions on 'right and wrong'.

Once again I will say that even if they do pay taxes their brain is still not developed enough to make decisions well.

This point in fact works in my favour because teenagers are so stable that they should not get a vote, they are still living in the shelter of their parents, few worries and no money pressures. As well as this eighteen is not the worst time to vote, in fact I would argue there is no bad times to vote in your adult life. People vote for politicians and party's that share the same views as them, or would do something to help them (e.g. give funding for university students).

Voting turnout:
I think that more would turn up at elections if they were made to wait, that way they would appreciate the chance more. Though I think you make a good point about getting more voters we are talking about adolescents here, not children.

Unique point of view:
I do not understand how a 16 or 17 year old should be given choices on wages and money when they have (as I said before) little experience of the world and are very financially sheltered. The same applies on other things e.g. housing, pensions etc.

Thanks again for the great response, good luck for the next round!


Thank you, Pro, for the interesting points. This is turning out to be quite the intriguing debate! I hope it lasts. I was also unaware that you were a member of the UK. I will try to structure my arguments accordingly, then.

Rebuttal 1: Maturity

I believe that your link works against you, Pro. Yes, it is true the brain is not developed (usually) until one's mid-20s. However, you do not seem to see the glaringly obvious problem with this argument: mainly, that 18 year olds do not fit this bracket either. As such, you seem to be arguing that 18 year olds are mature enough to handle voting, but use arguments against how 16 year olds should not be allowed to vote that negatively effect 18 year olds as well.

Regarding schools, you seem to ignore two pretty obvious holes in this idea that 16 or 17 year olds should not be allowed to vote because they are still in school: firstly, you state later that whether or not they are in school is irrelevant, because they can leave school at age 16. As such, they must have the maturity to handle not being in school, by your own logic, correct? Secondly, 18 year olds oftentimes (especially in the UK) attend universities. As such, an 18 year old is bound by the same problem: they are still learning.

Yes, they cannot join the army at age 16, but they are mature enough to pledge to enroll and take JROTC courses that train them in the same things they would be trained in as 18 year olds enrolling for the army. 16 year olds cannot walk into a bar, it is true. However, in the United States, neither can an 18 year old. This is different from someone from the United Kingdom, where the legal drinking age is 18 (and lower if in a household). Does that mean that the age of maturity differs between countries? Seems doubtful.

It is a good point to say that teenagers are taught to drive. However, teenagers are taught to vote, as well. Not in a technical way, but they are taught political issues, the opinions of these issues, the outcome of many political ideas, and how the government and voting system works. We are taught this in the form of Civics classes and Government classes in schools. In fact, you learn Civics and Government more than you learn how to drive! You cannot use a lack of being taught as an argument, because it is simply not true.

Rebuttal 2: Experience

Most 18 year olds do not hold a stable job. Hell, most 25 year olds hold a stable job. Many people cannot hold a stable career until after college, which can last as long as four years time. You have not provided a reason why a 16 year old's lack of experience is any different from an 18 year old's lack of it. Teens are given experience in the adult world: as pointed out before, 80% of American teenagers have had a job and pay taxes before their graduations. Is having a job not experience? If not, how does an 18 year old who is has not left is parent's house, is going to college, and lacks a job have any more experience than the average 16 year old? Most do not sustain for themselves. Colleges provide cafeterias (which means they don't cook for themselves) and many parents provide their children with enough income to survive being outside of the house; as such, they do not need to get a job. On top of this, most colleges have roommate systems, meaning they are not living on their own.

Rebuttal 3: Responsibility

Yes, their prefrontal cortex is not developed at that age. But, once again, the glaring hole appears: neither have the 18 year old's prefrontal cortex. Furthermore, peer pressure is a common human experience: it does not suddenly stop when you hit 18.

Counter-Rebuttal 1: Taxation without representation

If they receive no representation in the form of democracy, than why tax them? That is all I am saying. I would also repeat that the same problem arises for an 18 year old, but I think you got the point by now. If a teenager is taxed, than they should have a say; it is why, for instance, a third of American colonists attempted to secede from Great Britain, as they were not given parliamentary representation despite paying off most of Britain's war debts. If they are not mentally developed enough to vote, what makes them mentally developed enough to be taxed? Or to have a job, for that matter?

Counter-Rebuttal 2: Stability

Yes, teens have no money pressures, live in shelter, and have few worries. As in, they have time and energy to sit down and reflect on their political opinions, and who is the right people to run the nation. This is opposed to an eighteen year old who is so worried about so many major changes going on in his or her life that they cannot simply sit down and reflect on who they think will be better, and will likely make worse decisions as a result. Indeed, people vote in the way that benefits them and for those who share their political beliefs. However, people who have an unstable life have no time to actually give this any thought.

Counter-Rebuttal 3: Voter turnout

I was not so much saying that more teenagers would come out if they were allowed in earlier as I was that more parents would be inspired to vote, as the study suggested. I would disagree in saying that we are talking about adolescents: after all, my point is to lower the voting age. I can propose any lower age I feel is arguably sound. However, I am not mentally deficient: I would say 16 would be the lowest I would be willing to go. The program includes adolescents, and there is proof that more parents turn out when children (and adolescents) are excited or participating. As such, voter turnout would still increase.

Counter-Rebuttal 4: Unique point of view

They would provide the unique point of view of someone a part of the education system. They can provide a view on how to improve their education quality, for instance. As for money and finances, teens oftentimes have jobs as I have pointed out. They would provide the perspective of a youth just beginning in the workforce. Etc.


I eagerly await your response!
Debate Round No. 2


Thanks for your great response

I would argue that a though it is true an 18 year old's brain is developing, there is a difference between the development of a 16 and 18 year old's brains, and obviously the 18 year old will be more cognitively developed. You suggest that because both of their brains are still developing that they should both get a vote. This is not the case. One could also argue that a 14 year old should vote as their brain is still developing. So really this is an irrelevant point, yes they are both still developing but there is a large gap between the stages of development.

In counter to your argument on schools and universities you are suggesting that because 18 year olds are in university they should not vote. I would like to remind you that there is a very obvious difference between schools and university: you are in school 6-7 hours a day, 5 days a week. You are in university 4 hours a week (if studying medicine for example) 5 days a week. The rest of that week you would spend working or independently studying. The big difference is independence. No longer being supervised, advised or guided 24 hours a day. You experience life for yourself and to me, this is what sets apart 16 and 18 year olds. I also think you counter your own argument abut leaving school when you want because as you said earlier, this is the minority. And, being part of democracies, majority wins. As well as is I would like to clarify that you never stop leaning and in high school you study a wide more rounded course. In university you study specifics. I fail to see how Chemical Engineering is going to help a voter learn about voting learn about this in high school for a reason, so you can take it and apply it after you leave school, there is no point doing an exam half way through a course, so there is no point voting when you are still studying politics.

I think you make a good point about enrolling for the army at 16, but you fail to notice that they can not fight till you are 18. Just like you can apply to learn to drive, but drive until you are 17 1/2 (in Britain).

I have provided a reason for a 16 year old having less experience than an 18 year old. This is that: Many 16 year olds still live with their parents, are looked after by their parents, are supported by their parents, are financially funded by their parents, are cooked for by their parents, are guided by their parents, are instructed by their parents etc.
As well as this you argue that 80% of teens have jobs, then why do 'many parents provide their children with enough income to survive being outside of the house'?And if a 16 year old is still in school and they get a job (like 80% of 16 year olds) why do they 'not need to get a job'?
I would also like to clarify that by living on their own I mean without their parents. Though I do not see the relevance of a roommate as they certainly would not be providing for, looking after, caring for their roommate.

As I said before there is a very big difference in a 16 year old's brain and an 18 year old's brain. Just as their is a 14 year old and a 16 year old, or should the 14 year old be voting too, because their brain is also still developing?

Why tax them? Because the governments money is paying for their edcation, the up keep of their towns, their protection, their leisure and so on.

What I do not think you are seeing is the fact that if someone has money pressures, or does not live in shelter they would have a reason to vote. To vote for policies that would give students more money, or provide shelter for those who have none. It gives a reason to vote. If you have money troubles you will know it and you will think to vote for someone who can help you. It is as simple as that. Why vote if you have no worries or pressures?

Voter Turn out:
Of course the voting turn out would increase, there would be more people who are allowed to vote! Simple as that, but would it be sensible to allow a 16/17 year old to work? For the benefit of the country, not just voting turn outs.

Thanks very much for such an interesting debate, I have really enjoyed competing against you!



This was fun! It was a pretty interesting debate on both sides. This could go either way. Best of luck, Con. I'll post this debate into the voting forums once I have completed and posted these arguments.


This counter would work well against me, if it were not for the fact that I am not making this argument. I never said that maturity should be a factor: I simply said that your argument against why sixteen year olds cannot vote applies just as much to eighteen year olds. Sure, their brains would be more developed than a sixteen year old, but they are still not fully developed, which means you would need to provide a justifiable reason why you are making an exception for those who are eighteen to twenty-four, but not those under eighteen. I agree that fourteen year olds should not vote, but the reason why does not have to do with maturity. This is why I feel you fail to meet your half of the burden of proof (proving that eighteen is a proper voting age, but not sixteen).

Good point, in regards to university being more independent. I concede to that. However, you would now need to provide a reason for why this is matters. Why does independence matter in the end when it comes to whether or not someone should be allowed to vote? This is why I feel this argument fails to meet the burden of proof.

Kids leaving school was your point: you countered against my rebuttal that the reason kids do not have the ability to become juryman was a matter of circumstance was that children are not required to attend school, and can drop out as a result. You just refuted your own counter. As for learning, this is not true. In fact, in my driver's ed class, we were told to take the permit test the first two weeks into the course; it was a recommendation, actually. When it comes to voting, you are not taking an exam before you finish the course: in the United States, students take Civics and Economics (which teaches political problems and how the government functions) in eighth grade, which would be around age twelve. It is taking an exam several years after taking the course, after doing independent study on your own afterwards to decide your political ideology. I would call that prepared!

Yes, sixteen year olds cannot fight. But this is not necessarily a maturity issue: after all, the army did not allow women in combat battalions until only a few months ago in the United States. (1) By this logic, are women not mature enough to handle combat? I doubt you believe this.


Children still have all of those things from their parents, this is true. However, college students have a dependency on their parents as well. Parents send financial support so that their children can afford books, room and board, and basic essentials. As for jobs, teenagers get jobs to afford non-essentials. Games, extra-curricular activities like participating in clubs that require payments (like, ironically enough, Model UN and Youth-in-Government). They do not need to get a job because non-essentials are just that: not essential. They do not need a job; they want a job. This is an important distinction to make. Yeah, I was a tad silly in my reply to them living alone. I should have known you meant living independent of their parents. They are not financially independent, however; they are physically independent however, so point to you on that. But living independently does not mean that they are ready to vote, and not all eighteen year olds get this experience. For example, there are many eighteen year olds who do not go to university and college, and stay at home for several years. These people did not have the experience you describe. Would you deny these people the right to vote due to lack of experience? I doubt you would; as such, why is this an issue of experience, if those who lack experience would still vote?


There is no reason to make the assumption that the difference is anything substantial in the span of just two years time. Furthermore, moral development (which includes the ability to make judgments) does not differ much after reaching the autonomous stage of morality, which usually occurs around the age of ten. (2) Therefore, the moral ideas of a sixteen year old likely would not be different from that of the same person two years later.


That logic doesn't really work for me. Firstly, the child is taxed for these things you mentioned, but the child does not have the ability to vote in support of politicians who support legislator regarding how these tax dollars are to be spent. The child's money is being used without them reaping the benefits of paying them: the right to vote for politicians who will use their tax money in the way they agree with. Secondly, this logic does not work because not all teens pay taxes. Only those who directly purchase things with their own money or those who have a job pay taxes. If these taxes are taken because they benefit the student, why are they not taxing all teens? Or all children for that matter? After all, these benefits affect small children just as much as adolescents.


You vote to prevent worries or pressures. You will have a motivation to vote if you notice that one candidate will negatively effect you if they become a government official. You will vote for the person who will neutrally or positively effect you, would you not? It is the same thing. If you are a well-to-do upper-middle-class teenager, would you support a candidate that would tax your parents more, and likely cause problems for your household financially?

Voter turnout:

I believe it is sensible to allow sixteen or seventeen year olds to vote (I assume that is what you meant instead of “work,” but I could be mistaken). Voter turnout benefits the country, because more of the general public's opinions are being heard.


Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by TheBlueTurtle 5 years ago
Sorry, wrong link :)

Here it is:
Posted by TheBlueTurtle 5 years ago
"We blame teen turmoil on immature brains. But did the brains cause the turmoil, or did the turmoil shape the brains?" -Robert Epstein

Just read at least the first three paragraphs of this:
Posted by shivani_rangatia 5 years ago
Young people are the future in any society nation and we have a duty in trying to involve both young and old in active participation in a shared future.First, a voting age of sixteen would be increase voter turnout. Second, teens have enough knowledge about politics. Third, teens are mature and smart enough to vote.
Lowering the voting age to sixteen should be increase voter turnout. The result was a higher turnout among adults. National youth of rights found that Apathy among voters today is a major problem in American democracy. In the 1998 elections, only 36.1% of the voting age population turned out to vote, the lowest percentage since 1942, when America was at war.
Teens have enough knowledge about politics. A panel survey involving more than 1,200 teenagers from 12 to 17 years of age found that adolescents learn more about politics when they think and talk about what they read or watch on the news. Tandoc and his adviser, Esther Thorson, a professor and associate dean for graduate studies and research in the MU School of Journalism, analyzed two surveys conducted six months apart.
Teens are mature and smart enough to vote.16 year olds should be able to make a vote on the world, they prepare themselves for and continually support through paying taxes from the jobs many hold. Young people have the maturity to vote by the age of sixteen, in large part because they are already engaged in other adult activities. In many states, young people can marry at sixteen, either with or without parental permission.
Many of my opponents may say that at age 16, most young people are not mature enough to make informed decisions. In today's world, 16- and 17-year-olds are more mature and responsible than ever.
. A lower voting age would also encourage government to pay more attention to the issues that most affect young people.. I strongly urge lawmakers and individuals in this country to seriously consider lowering the voting age.
Posted by adontimasu 5 years ago
I'm kind of surprised how well-received this debate was. xD
Posted by DaUltimateBoss 5 years ago
nice debate very helpful
Posted by adontimasu 5 years ago
Best of luck, Con! :3
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by baseballkid 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: He got me with the taxation without representation. Great debate.
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Reasons for voting decision: counter vote bomb
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Reasons for voting decision: It was obvious the difference here.