The argument for Proposition 18

Staff writer Troy Nevil argues that Proposition 18, which would allow 17-year-olds to vote, should pass

The upcoming 2020 election is proving to be one of the most crucial elections for the future of our country. Aside from the pivotal presidential race, there are also many propositions Californians will be able to vote on that could have a large impact on our generation, Generation Z.

One important proposition that Californians will be able to vote on is Proposition 18. Voting yes on Proposition 18 will allow 17-year-olds who will turn 18 by the next general election to vote in primary elections and special elections, while voting no on the proposition will not allow 17-year-olds to vote, and will keep the voting age the same.

Many states in the U.S already allow 17-year-olds to vote in primaries and special elections before they turn 18, including Nevada, Illinois, Colorado, Virginia and West Virginia.

Our generation is known for being very vocal. While scrolling through TikTok or any social media, there is a tremendous number of teenagers that voice their opinions on politics, and try to spread information of events going on in our world that the media might not be necessarily covering.

A good example of our generation being very vocal is during the Black Lives Matter protests in May sparked by the death of George Floyd. Millions of teenagers got on social media to show their support for Black Lives Matter and to sign as many petitions as possible. Others even attended protests to show their support of the movement.

For this reason, allowing 17-year-olds to vote in primaries and special elections could be a game-changer. As they become more educated on political ideas and agendas, their vote has more potential to change future outcomes of the election.

According to CalMatters, supporters of Proposition 18 believe that allowing teens to vote will “increase interest and voter participation among youth” as well as “raise the voices of young voters.” They also argue that many teenagers already pay taxes and work jobs, so it makes sense to let them vote early.

Some supporters of Proposition 18 include the California Association of Student Councils, Gov. Gavin Newsom, Secretary of State Alex Padilla and the California School Boards Association.

Opponents of Proposition 18 argue that teenagers are not as educated as adults are on politics, and should not vote until they are 18. According to CalMatters, opponents of the proposition say that “17-year-olds are still kids” and that “biologically their brains are not yet fully developed.”

Some opponents of Proposition 18 include the Election Integrity Project California and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

According to the Official Voter Information Guide, the President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, Jon Coupal, is against Proposition 18 because many tax increases and bond debt measures are voted on during primary and special elections, and since many 17-year-olds don’t pay taxes yet, he believes adults should be the only ones allowed to vote.

While I completely understand the argument of opponents, us “kids” are the future of the United States. Some of us may not be able to work or pay taxes quite yet, but we have a lot of opinions and ideas that deserve to be heard. Aside from social media, we don’t have many other platforms to voice our opinions, so being able to vote would allow us to be heard and actually have an impact on the future of our country.

The opponents also argue that 17-year-olds don’t have fully developed brains. This is completely true, but the brain doesn’t fully develop until the age of 25. If that argument is used, theoretically nobody should be allowed to vote until they are 25. However, since so many people are already allowed to vote before their brains fully develop, having a 17-year-old vote won’t make much of a difference.

Our generation is strong, and we have already made a lot of positive changes on our own for the United States. Our brains may not be fully developed, and we may be influenced by our teachers, but many of us are still able to form our own opinions without others influencing them. We are the future of this country, and we should be able to vote at the age of 17.