The campaign for youth rights

Abby Karlin, Business Manager, Opinions Editor

After the Arizona Primary, in which the lines were horrendous and I saw with my own eyes someone say “If you’re not in front of my arm at seven, you’re not voting,” I had quite a few opinions about our stupid, bias, electoral system.

Our Voting System is screwed up, and in so many different ways that I can’t even begin to name them all. But there is one that specifically affects me, and other High Schoolers. The Voting age limit. You can’t vote until you turn 18, and in AZ, you can’t even vote in the primaries until you turn 18 (at least in Arizona).

Ignoring the fact that the primary law doesn’t even make sense, except to exclude minorities from expressing their opinions, excluding younger voters is a serious issue, and the outcome of changing this rule would be astronomical on all election results.

Although there are many people who say things like ‘what, children involved in politics!  But they are uninformed, and won’t know what to do, and the next thing we know, marijuana will be legalized on the moon!’ But the thing is, any form of age line is arbitrary here. What makes a person who is one day older more qualified to vote than the next. Absolutely nothing. These arguments don’t make any sense because adults are subject to these same constraints. What makes an average adult more informed or prepared than a student in a government class or one who partook in a political internship. Any arguments that children can be swayed 1) apply to adults as well and 2) doesn’t acknowledge a nonsensical age line.

The second main reason for youth votes is that we are subject to laws and taxes in the same ways as adults without getting the same rights. Although we’ve come a long way in terms of free speech in schools, there is still a long way to go. Why should I be able to drive, have a job, be responsible for my own decisions, but not be able to vote? Why should I have to pay taxes both on sales and on my salary, but not get to help decide where that money goes? Also, why can’t emancipated minors vote? They are literally responsible for themselves.

This is our future. It belongs to us. The children are our future, yada yada. Well right now, the future is a hot mess, and since there’s nothing we can do to change it, it’s going to stay that way. If politicians were forced to acknowledge us when making decisions, maybe they’d include more clean energy sources and more ways to save the planet, instead of nearly electing someone for president who said that climate change was a hoax.

The point is, feeling like we are a part of our decisions gives us some degree of hope for our future. And in the face of this election cycle, I at least, could really use that.