Should 17-year-olds be allowed to vote? A teenager registers to vote. (Thinkstock)
Should 17-year-olds be allowed to vote?
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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 that would only happen if they'd turn 18 by the general election 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 that advocates for 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 to allow 17-year-old participation.
 
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 than some 18-year-olds who have moved out into the world and the distractions of college.
 
After 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 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 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 who 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 (244)
  • shaelyng-ver
    1/20/2016 - 03:00 p.m.

    I don't think that 17 year olds should be able to vote, the 18 year old restriction should stay in place. 17 is to young, they should keep it for adults.

  • daisys-hol
    1/20/2016 - 03:50 p.m.

    I think they should let 17 year olds vote. It might make them make right decision. I hope they do let 17 year olds vote in Texas

  • calis-3-bar
    1/20/2016 - 08:21 p.m.

    There is an age limit on voting because some people of younger ages are not aware of the issues of candidates or the candidates themselves. Younger voters also are not affected as much by the choices each candidate makes. Older voters have to pay taxes, so they may be affected by the candidates use of the taxes, while younger people who don't pay taxes shouldn't get a choice in who gets to decide how and how much to tax. The article says, "They aren't as politically active. And a lot of them are apathetic to the political process". While some people under 18 may be mature enough to vote, others aren't, leaving for younger voters to be unable to vote. I liked this article, as I think it is great how people of all ages are politically active, and trying to argue for their rights to be expanded.

  • samuelh-3-bar
    1/20/2016 - 08:47 p.m.

    People under the age 18 shouldn't be allowed to vote because, people under that age could vote for somebody because of peer pressure, not saying that people above that age aren't immune to peer pressure it is just people ages 5-16 are easily a victim of peer praiser could vote for some one they think should be president.

  • Eric0221-YYCA
    1/20/2016 - 10:58 p.m.

    The people that might have been 17-year-old might have only been able to be voting because people might have only wanted a person who is only 18 to be able to vote for something that people are only able to be held to only do. The people might have only hold 18 year olds because people might have wanted people that are only one year behind the person who is one year older than the other person. The 17 year old votes might have been only able for people who are able to let people who are only 17 years old and they wanted to vote for something that is their favorite and they can't vote for it. People might have been able to let 17 year old kids to be able to be voting for something that they really wanted to be able to vote for.
    Critical Thinking Question: Why isn't everyone allowed to vote, regardless of their age?
    Answer: Because only some people are only able to vote when they are at age while most people aren't able to.

  • richardp-wes
    1/21/2016 - 09:08 a.m.

    Because when people are so young that hey don't even know that much about politics

  • hannahh1-joh
    1/21/2016 - 09:56 a.m.

    The main idea is to see if The state should Let 17 year olds be able to drive....My vote is No because of safety issues.

  • anjelias-str
    1/21/2016 - 10:51 a.m.

    The older you get the more you understand stuff.

  • sofiap-3-bar
    1/21/2016 - 04:56 p.m.

    Not everyone is aloud to vote because of their age. If everybody was aloud to vote than some people that should not be president will become president. Some ,not all, people would vote just for the fun of it and not because they are interested it the election. If 17 year old's were to vote they would not be very mature.I chose this article because the title intrigued me. I found this article very interesting because I am really excited to vote and I would take the election very seriously.

  • simonak-3-bar
    1/21/2016 - 07:10 p.m.

    Not everyone is allowed to vote, regardless of their age because many teenagers are not well-educated on politics, and are also influenced by what their parents and peers say. The passage states, "'They aren't as politically active. And a lot of them are apathetic to the political process."," this means tat many high schoolers are not very involved and politically active. This means that if the law was made national, it would still not have a very large effect because many 17 year olds would not take an advantage of such an opportunity.
    My opinion on this article is that I personally would love to vote as early as I can, especially because I will turn 18 in September right before the 2020 election. This means that it would be nice if I could vote as soon as I could.

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