By: Aedan Sara O’Connor
In 1971 the 26th Amendment to the Constitution was passed which lowered the voting age in the United States from 21 to 18. This was driven in large part by the Vietnam war, with men ages 18-20 being conscripted without political representation. Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Lyndon Johnson had both previously expressed their support for lowering the voting age to 18 making this bipartisan. In 1970 Senator Ted Kennedy spoke out in favour of amending the Voting Rights Act to include all citizens 18 and older, which passed through Congress and then President Richard Nixon signed it into law. The case of Oregon v. Mitchell was the decisive case that enshrined the right for all citizens to vote in federal elections above the age of 18 because that is the age of majority. But being able to vote does not mean teenagers are adults.
The infiltration into the culture of moral relativism has been advancing adolescence into our mid-twenties. When the 26th Amendment passed 18 year-olds were often working full time and a couple years away from marriage and having children. They were responsible and often already paying taxes. The median age for marriage in 1970 was 23.2 for men and 20.8 for women and in 2015 it was 29.2 for men and 27.1 for women. Young adults now are often in university or college and living with their parents and playing video games until their mid-twenties, not really participating as full, responsible adults in society.
On top of that, research shows that the prefrontal cortex, the region of the brain that is responsible for decision making and complex cognitive behaviour, is not fully developed until people are in their mid-twenties. This could lead young voters to make rash decisions and not consider the consequences. One could postulate that the underdeveloped prefrontal cortex is one of the contributing factors to young people voting for radical candidates such as Bernie Sanders or supporting extremist movements such as the regressive left or the alternative right.
Another factor to the extremism is likely the delay in entering adulthood. Voting is an important responsibility, one that should not be taken on by children. There are constraints restricting the age to run for House of Representatives to 25, for Senate to 30 and for President to 35. It is because such responsibility requires maturity, maturity most people in their early twenties do not now possess in their extended youth.
Understanding that this would likely be a complicated process and would require a constitutional amendment, the voting age should be raised to 25 with one exception. That being, any military personnel automatically gain the right to vote. This will likely curb radicalism within mainstream politics, restricting the precious right to vote for those participating as adults in civic society only.
Aedan Sara O’Connor is the founder and CEO of Dame Right. While she is an American patriot, she was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. An avid political junkie and nerd, she created Dame Right when she saw a void to be filled in feminine conservative media. Her previous work has been featured in Daily Wire, The National Post, Rebel Media, Toronto Sun and Jerusalem Post.