Applying Ethical Theory to the Age of Electoral Majority

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Demographics have changed over the 20th century, particularly the age of electoral majority. At the beginning of the 20th century, the global average voting age was 24, it is now 17. More than a dozen nations have lowered local, state or national voting age to 16, and Australia, the U.K. and the United States are considering such measures. Age can no longer be used as a qualifier for voting competence; a certain level of cognitive ability, reading acumen, and understanding of the basic Constitutional process is required, and is taught from 3th grade on. The last major piece of voting legislation, the 26th Amendment to the Constitution, was quickly passed during the height of the Vietnam Conflict, when many found a great deal of psychological and moral hypocrisy in sending 18 year olds to fight a war, but denying them the right to vote. However, while the age of consent for serving in the military is 18, the age at which consumption of alcohol becomes legal remains 21 in most states. While there is a great deal of polarization on the topic, one cannot deny that teens today live in an increasingly complex, data filled global environment. If we expect young people to be capable and future global leaders, then we must also acknowledge that they must have the responsibility and input into their government. Further, if we expect 18 year olds to be mature enough to be sent into combat or into dangerous situations, then by logic they should also be responsible enough to handle the

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