This is a contentious issue. After all, Kids are kids, Their cognitive abilities aren't fully developed, And they may just now be going through highschool civics. Most people probably look back at the person they were at sixteen, And feel fear at the notion of that person getting to decide, Say, The President of the United States. On the other hand, Arguments FOR voters at sixteen are often nonsensical, Like: sixteen year-olds can drive! They've already become independent! - as you can probably already tell, I don't think these are convincing. Which is why I'm going to give you the argument that flipped me on this subject.
The life blood of America is the constitutionally-bent right to vote. If the voting age were ever to be /raised/, You'd have angry mobs demanding a repeal. Because the fact is, Every American citizen should be entitled to their fair slice of democracy, And while some Americans might not actually intend to USE that slice (or use it intelligently), If the government gets to decide who is "good enough" to vote and who "isn't good enough" based on arbitrary things like not being politically educated, We don't really have a democracy. The vast majority of colonial warriors who turned on the British Empire for their freedoms were not 'educated' people; most were rural farmers who had their rifles ready at a minute's notice. So we've established that if you're American, And if you're an independent citizen, You should be able to vote. But why sixteen?
I want you to check me on this: do your own research. You'll be surprised at what you find. Study after study bent on finding data for why sixteen year-olds aren't independently-minded or responsible enough to vote end up finding exactly the opposite; and worse, Something pretty harrowing: people who get the chance to vote at sixteen are far more likely to continue voting throughout their life. When you think about it, It doesn't seem all that "out-there" - at sixteen, You're transitioning to independence. You're finding new things. Building new habits as a person (and, Yes, As a citizen. ) You're starting to pay taxes, Starting to work, Starting to drive; you're starting to participate in society. And what we find is that when you start all of that, And you exclude voting, People aren't very likely to start voting when they finally hit the right age. Which means a vast percentage of American citizens who participate in society as functioning and responsible adults are NOT participating in our democracy.
We're not just raising little brats who may or may not eventually become adults. We're raising people who live under our system, As a country; who are affected by politics. If we don't teach them how to participate while they're learning everything else about adulthood, Then who will?
You don't start having a care for politics or consider the consequences of your actions until you own property, Have a family, Or something to lose. Kids that young generally don't have any of that, And of the ones that do they would not make a voting majority by any stretch … so their being excluded from voting would not be statistically significant.
First thing is that 16-year-olds are very easy to manipulate. They will believe anything as long as it promises a "perfect future" (which is impossible). I get 18-year-olds aren't much better, But there are legitimate reasons 18-year-olds should be allowed to vote that don't apply to 16-year-olds (like compulsory military service when necessary).
Furthermore, People who are 16 don't usually have adult responsibilities. That's not to say none do, As some do have jobs, But the vast majority don't. I'm not sure about the way taxes work when you're that young, But people generally live at home at that age. You are a dependent. At 18 at least, That is when independence starts. Basically what I'm trying to say is that what you vote on won't affect you at that time. Meanwhile it will affect people people who do live on their own.
We set the voting age at the age in which you become an adult. Should the age of majority be lowered to 16? Should we allow them to marry, Be tried as adults, Sign contracts, Enlist in the military or get drafed, Drink acohol, Smoke, Gamble, Purchase a firearm? Letting them drive whenver they want? Independently consent to medical procedures? Being eligible for jury duty? We don't allow young people to do most adult activities until they're 18, And some activities we push back to age 21 because of the acknowledgment that young people are still "under construction" mentally. As a baseline, If you're not legally allowed to be responsible for yourself you shouldn't be making decisons for the rest of the country. At 16 you're not allowed to leave home and your parents are still responsible for supporting you with shelter, Food, Clothing, And a basic education. In two years, The legal dynamics change.
To not be dogmatic, However, The voting age was not always 18. We did lower it in 1971 (in the US) because we agreed that young men who could be drafted into war should have a say in electing its leaders who would send them there but consequently the age of legal adulthood in nearly every state was lowered to 18. So should the age to vote be tied to when you're legally responsible for yourself? I think so.