If teens go to work like adults, pay taxes like adults and go to jail like adults, then it is high time they get to vote like adults -- a suggestion made by Jillian Keenan in an article for The Daily Beast.
"We need to lower the voting age," she writes. Keenan makes her case using the examples of Scotland and Takoma Park, Maryland, where within the last year, they allowed 16- and 17-year olds to vote in certain elections. While Keenan appreciates that "progress," she argues that it isn't enough and feels that teenagers "deserve the right to vote (seriously)" in the upcoming midterms.
"Okay, not all teenagers," she amends, but at least the ones who work and pay taxes, which the Department of Labor says can come from youngsters as young as 14 years old. "Teenagers are literally subjected to taxation without representation," Keenan laments.
Fourteen is also the age at which most courts begin to pass harsh prison sentences for criminal acts. For that, Keenan makes the following argument:
If the government wants to treat teenagers as mature adults who should be held responsible for their crimes on sentencing day, it’s hypocritical and logically inconsistent to treat them as brainless children on Election Day.
Keenan tackles the argument that parents will make sure to vote with their children's best interests at heart by likening that to the pre-suffrage era when "husbands would vote in the best interests of their wives." Besides, with issues like education, children's privacy and corporal punishment laws, kids need a voice, right?
Another argument she counters is the one that says teenagers aren't mature enough or don't have enough education to make well-informed political decisions. "But," Keenan argues, "there are also plenty of ill-informed adults." So there!
Similarly, Keenan argues against those that may say teens shouldn't vote because they aren't responsible enough in their own lives saying that goes for some adults too:
We don’t base the right to vote on a person’s demonstrated level of responsibility.
In the end, Keenan admits that her suggestion is not a perfect solution but the line has to be drawn "somewhere:"
If we want to treat teenagers as children by denying them the right to vote, then we should be consistent about it and treat them as children for tax and sentencing purposes as well.
For Keenan it is "only logical" to draw that line "where early American revolutionaries did: No taxation without representation."