“At 16, most kids have little awareness of politics, civics or American history, and they have little life experience to inform their decisions,” Ms. Braceras wrote, adding, “Most don’t even pay for their own cellphones — let alone groceries, rent, utility bills or property taxes.”
About a dozen countries — including Argentina, Austria, Brazil and Ecuador — allow voting at 16, but the vast majority allow it at 18.
Mr. Goldstein supports the current effort, though he said part of him worried that lowering the voting age to 16 could lead to 16-year-olds serving in the military. But Mr. DuPell was skeptical.
At 18, “people are out of high school, they’re working, they’re drafted, they’re full participants in our society, and if you’re a full participant, then you should be allowed to vote,” he said, summarizing the argument 50 years ago. “I want to know what the rationale is.”
As expressed by the teenagers leading local voting-age campaigns, the rationale is that between climate change, gun violence, student debt and other issues, they do have enough skin in the game.
“The 16-year-olds right now will be the ones who live with the consequences of the choices the adults make right now,” said Vikiana Petit-Homme, 17, a high school senior in Boston who has been lobbying Massachusetts to let municipalities lower voting ages for local elections.
They also note that 16 is when Americans can work without a limit on their hours and, in most states, drive.