Should 17-year-olds be allowed to vote? A teenager registers to vote. (Thinkstock)
Should 17-year-olds be allowed to vote?
Lexile

A proposal that Utah lawmakers will consider could see the state join 20 other states. It would allow 17-year-olds to vote in June primary elections. But they could only vote if they'll turn 18 by the general election. That's held in November.
 
Salt Lake City Democratic state Rep. Joel Briscoe is a former high school civics teacher. He hopes his proposal will help boost voter participation. He wants to get more young people engaged.
 
Briscoe said if someone will be 18 and eligible to vote in November, "Why not get them involved in the primary election? Why not get them involved even earlier that year.  And get them more pumped for what's going to happen in November?"
 
Utah primary elections are held the fourth Tuesday in June.
 
Briscoe said research has shown that the earlier people cast their first vote, the more likely they will be to continue voting.
 
The Utah lieutenant governor's office oversees elections. It has not studied the proposal, according to state elections director Mark Thomas.
 
So far, 20 states allow 17-year-olds to vote in primaries and caucuses. This is according to FairVote. It is a Maryland-based election reform group. The group supports the idea.
 
Some states have passed laws lowering the primary voting age.  In some others, state political parties have been allowed to change their party rules.  They can allow 17-year-olds to participate.
 
Rob Richie is FairVote's executive director.  He said 17-year-olds in a more structured environment of living with their parents and going to high school may be more likely to take advantage of their right to vote.  That is opposed to some 18-year-olds who have moved out into the world and the distractions of college.
 
A similar law took effect in Illinois in 2014. Chicago election officials reported that 17-year-olds were more likely to vote in that city's primary election.  They were even more likely to vote than most voters in their 20s, 30s and 40s.
 
Kari Schott is the 17-year-old founder of a Young Democrats club at Jordan High School.  It is in Sandy. She said she'd take advantage of the lowered primary voting age.  But she isn't sure about her peers.
 
"That would be an amazing opportunity. But knowing my friends and the people at my school, I don't know if it would be as exciting to them," she said. "They aren't as politically active. And a lot of them are apathetic to the political process."
 
Schott said despite being a politically active 17-year-old, she isn't always taken seriously by candidates. That is because she can't actually vote for them.
 
Andy Pierucci is a 27-year-old. He works with Utah Young Republicans. He said he thinks the voting age should be lowered to 16. That is the age when many teenagers start working and paying taxes.
 
"I think that they should definitely be able to have a say on elected officials that decide where the taxes go," he said.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why isn't everyone allowed to vote, regardless of their age?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (6)
  • erinw1-str
    1/21/2016 - 10:47 a.m.

    Because if your like 9you might choose chose someone really bad. Lol love the story????

  • htarsandi-eri
    1/25/2016 - 12:59 a.m.

    I believe everyone isn't able to vote regardless of the age is because they might not know what is right or wrong. They have a likely chance to choose the wrong thing since they are not mature enough. I also think they might not know about the world very much yet since they are young. Voting for a person is the biggest decision that we have to make which can change the whole thing. It is not an easy desicion to make.

  • kyleighr-mac
    1/26/2016 - 09:04 a.m.

    i think people should be 18 to vote because your too young to know all the things u need to know until ur 18. Your an legal adult at 18.

  • shauniem-war
    1/27/2016 - 08:33 a.m.

    I think that having younger people vote, such as the 17 year olds, will be better for voting in general. Most 17 year olds have to take history classes in which they learn about presidents and senators and people in governments, having that fresh in their minds would be better because they actually are thinking about the circumstance around their vote and the effects from their vote. Many older people vote because they hear something from what the TV says about a person and vote fro them if they like what they are hearing or if they don't like what they are hearing then they vote for someone different and that is not always a good thing. Having 17 year olds vote is a great idea because they have to think all day long and they can dig in a research more about candidates, more logic voting will happen with 17 year olds voting, is what I feel.

  • troyk-cam
    1/29/2016 - 09:05 p.m.

    If someone is 1 to 12 like kids, they don't no who is right or wrong. They don't know what it is, so that is the reason why not everyone can vote.

  • junk-cam
    1/30/2016 - 01:23 a.m.

    Because young children are still too young to decide to vote since their minds are not mature enough. Also, young children are young to form a value, so it is early to give them a choice.

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