De Guest blogger

08 avril 2022 - 16:57


Arnaud Jaegers on Unsplash

Some countries have already reduced the legal voting age to 16 like Austria or Germany. However, some of them have kept it at 21 years like the United States. In France, in 1974, the legal voting, or more precisely the legal age of majority, was reduced to 18 years by Valéry Giscard d’Estaing. But now, the government is focusing its attention on the issue of reducing the legal voting age to 16. Should this change be made or not?

Today, young people are becoming emancipated earlier and earlier. 16 years old is an age when one is already criminally responsible, can legally drive accompanied and enter the army. The young people have also the right to work and can choose not to go to school. Therefore they have the possibility to do a job except for prohibited or regulated work. In France, 15 is also considered the age of consent. So why could not they vote at the same age? In addition, giving teenagers this responsibility may allow them to become more mature. High school is when they start to become full-fledged citizens, and by voting at the age of 16, they could have a say in their daily lives. This new law would recognize and value their capacity to be responsible, thoughtful and committed. Basically, it would give them a true maturity, far from false pretenses. But this recognition would only be of real interest if it would give them the opportunity to engage in a dialogue with adult interlocutors who would expand their reflection and support them when needed.  It could also be seen as a proof of trust. This would be a good opportunity for adults to compare their views with the opinions and convictions of the young generation. It could benefit to the adults too who tend sometimes to think a little too quickly that the young people no longer have anything to pass on to them.

On the contrary, some people think that at 16 we do not have the necessary maturity of mind to vote and that for the most part they are not yet able to think for themselves. With the adoption of this new law, the majority of these young people’s vote will be influenced by the choices of their parents. Either they will vote like their parents because they do not get any other points of view or opinions, or they will go against them because you tend to position yourself by opposing with your parents. Waiting until 18 gives them more time to form a personal political opinion. Moreover, at 16 we are more concerned by our exams and educational prospects. We worry about our future job, in which university we will go but not necessarily about the political situation of our country, this is the least of our concerns. We do not think about that, we do sports, we go out with friends, we party but we do not bother too much about politics. But above all, we are trying to establish ourselves as individuals.

Throughout this essay, we have seen the different arguments for and against reducing the voting age to 16. According to “Le Parisien”, 82 % of French people are against the idea of including 16-17 years olds’ votes in the elections. Personally, I do not concur and I am strongly against this idea. This year, I will turn 16 and I do not feel ready to vote. I'm already worried enough about my orientation, my school record, I don't want to add the worry of voting the next president into my life.

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