Continuing their attack on American democracy, democrats in San Francisco believe the best way to get more votes isn’t to sway citizens but to simply lower the age of voting. In the November election, residents of San Francisco will not only vote on the next president, but they will also decide if 16-year-old teenagers have the right to vote in local elections.

The Vote 16 proposition will give 16 and 17-year-olds the chance to vote ahead of major presidential elections, marking the first major city in America to grant voting rights to teenagers. Several towns around the United States have allowed teenagers to cast their ballot on local issues, with Takoma Park in Maryland being one of the latest in 2013.

Surprisingly, this isn’t a new tactic for democrats. In the 2016 Trump/Clinton showdown, democrats tried to get a similar proposition passed, but it ultimately failed when 52.1% of voters were against the proposal. It’s just the opinion of the writer, but maybe voters know how teenagers act and what motivates them.

According to Crystal Chan, an 18-year-old supporter of Vote 16 SF, the proposition would, “help youth of color in San Francisco establish the habit of voting at an earlier age, and really provide them with the support and the resources that they need to continue building on that habit as they grow older.”

A glimpse at the Vote 16 SF website bombards visitors with information about how important it is for teenagers to vote. The site claims, “Lowering the voting age can lead to a long-term increase in voter turnout, bringing more citizens in touch with their government and pushing the government to better serve its people.” It doesn’t end there as the site suggests teens are “affected by local political issues as much as anyone.”

While local elections are one thing, democrats want the power of teenagers to reach further than the cities they live in. In 2019, House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi suggested the voting age be lowered to 16. She said, “I, myself, personally, I’m not speaking for my caucus, I myself have always been for lowering the voting age to 16. I think it’s really important to capture the kids when they’re in high school, when they’re interested in all of this when they’re learning about government, to be able to vote.”

Not all those are in favor of lowering the voting age, even some young adults are against the move, knowing how gullible teens can be. Nate Hochman, a senior at Colorado College, says, “Sixteen-year-olds — they’re sophomores, juniors in high school like they’re deeply impressionable. They’re largely interested in learning what, you know, their friends are doing and appearing to be cool. And they’re not capable of making completely rational decisions about voting.”

What does science have to say on the matter? When looking at the brain, many child experts and neuroscientists agree that the prefrontal cortex doesn’t fully develop until the age of 25. The prefrontal cortex allows a person to view a situation with sound judgment and weigh the long-term consequences.

This piece was written by Jeremy Porter on September 14, 2020. It originally appeared in and is used by permission.

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