Young people at a protest. One of them is holding a sign that says they are the future. When it comes to voting, it doesn’t seem that way because of the way the voting system is currently set up. (Source)
Last month, several Senators made an unprecedented move when it came to voting on whether or not establish a commission to investigate the January 6th insurrection on the Capitol- they did not vote at all.
While looking into the insurrection earlier this year is an important issue, the topic of voting is the main focus of this post. Rather than taking a side on this issue, it is important to note the topic of voting itself, because there are many ways a vote is scrutinized depending on who does it and what the purpose of it is for.
This was an ironic move because even though there was a majority to support the commission, even with a vote of 54 to 35, with the latter opposition not even two-thirds the size of those in favor, the commission was not formed because 60 votes were needed. Despite clear support and more in support of it, there was no commission.
On the other hand, we currently have H J Res 23- a bill to lower the voting age for people 16 years old and older- with numerous organizations throughout the U.S. who support it. Rather than a job like with the Senators that were elected to do theirs, this vote is for expanding the electorate.
Regardless of whether or not you’re given a vote because it’s your job as a politician or because of a bill passed to enfranchise more people, both types of votes are important. To say that a vote does not matter is to say democracy does not matter. To also deny the vote to someone just because of their young age despite their contributions as a taxpayer and to their local communities with examples is also saying democracy does not matter, in the same way a vote is skipped out on.
We might not be able to fix Congress with a bill, but we can certainly make a difference for young people if H J Res 23 is passed. This is what makes H J Res 23 important and why we should make sure it gets passed.
Whether a youth chooses to vote or not won’t decide the outcome of any piece of legislation in the same way elected officials can. However, giving them the choice to have a vote in the first place gives them the choice whether to vote or not. It should be up to them. It’s not a job, it’s choice, and they should be given the option whether to weigh in on issues that affect them or not. Please support H J Res 23 so young people can finally have a vote.