Poll: Should 16 And 17 Year Olds Be Allowed To Vote?

By Douglas Patz

At the time of writing this blog post it is currently election day in the US. So I thought it would be fun to make a poll relating to voting. In most elections you must be 18 or older to vote. But I wanted to know if Mei users agreed with this. So I sent out a poll asking, “should 16-17 year olds be allowed to vote?” It has happened in the past with events like the Scottish referendum. So it could plausibly happen again. So let’s take a look at what Mei users think.

Well, it seems like the majority of Mei users think 16-17 year olds should not be allowed to vote, because 58% of respondents to this poll said no. Even if you look at what 13-17 year olds said, 49% of them said no, and only 47% said yes. So even though it is very close for the 13-17 age range, it looks like even teens don’t think they themselves should be allowed to vote.

If we look at some other factors, we can see that gender seems to play almost no role in what you will answer for this poll. Wealth also seems to have a minimal effect, only changing percentages by 1 or 2. However the same cannot be said about political affiliation. Only 24% of republicans said that 16-17 year olds should be allowed to vote. Where as 48% of Democrats said that 16-17 year olds should be allowed to vote. We can look at the other factors, but political affiliation is the only factor that changes percentages by a significant amount.

Once people had answer the first question, I asked people that said that 16-17 year olds should not be allowed to vote, to explain their answer. A lot of people said that they though 16-17 year olds just weren’t mature enough. Some were even arguing that the voting age should be 21. Another popular reason was that 16-17 year olds are too easily swayed by their parents, their friends, and the media. A third argument was that you need some real world experience to know what policies are good, and what policies are bad.

I then asked people who said that 16-17 year olds should be allowed to vote, what their reasoning was. Many people said that 16-17 year olds would be the people affected by future policies the most, so they should have a say in who gets to make the policies. Others said that mature 16-17 year olds would vote, but immature ones would not want to. And some people said that 16-17 year olds are trusted to drive, so they should be trusted to vote too.

This was quite an interesting poll for me. And I think that both sides make some good points. I was quite surprised to see that on average, even teenagers thought that 16-17 year olds shouldn’t be allowed to vote. And overall I found the results interesting to look over. I hope you found these results interesting to look at as well.