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Blocked From The Ballot: Meet Jacob Dennis, Age 17

Jacob Dennis would like to vote in November. But he's only 17, so he won't be able to get involved.
Jacob Dennis would like to vote in November. But he's only 17, so he won't be able to get involved.

Jacob Dennis is in high school. He couldn’t vote in the primaries, even though he wanted to, because he’s only 17.

Dennis works with the National Youth Rights Association, an organization that focuses on the right to vote for young people.

He says he joined because he believes policies regarding education, government spending, and the environment directly affect the lives of young people, even though they are left out of the decision-making process. And he says that leaving the voting age at 18 leaves out a lot of people.

“Youth voters right now would be 18 through 25, that’s not a big demographic. So expanding that by two years would mean millions of more voters. “

Those who are opposed to a lower voting age say young people aren’t politically aware enough to decide who should be president.

But Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, and Nicaragua are among some of the places where young people are able to vote starting at 16.  And Scotland lowered their voting age to 16 back in 2014.

Stuart McMillan, a member of the Scottish Parliament, says that young people like Jacob aren’t that uncommon.

“Young people have a genuine desire to be involved. When they come to Parliament, I always get great questions from them, questions I’ve never heard; they are always clear and direct.”

And since his country lowered the voting age, McMillan says he’s noticed the education system improving because the students are more aware.

Should the United States lower the voting age? Or are young people just too young to be involved?

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