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Should the voting age be lowered?

Some students at San Benito High School are upset about missing out on the 2016 election due to being too young to vote

With the presidential election less than a month away, many American citizens are anxious to vote and have their opinion about the country’s future heard. Some citizens under the age of 18 wish they could participate, as well, but the election rules prohibit that.

Some of these minors understand the rules, but don’t like the idea that they’re part of the country but not its decisions. Students at San Benito High School are particularly upset about this issue and wish they could do something to fix it.

“It’s very frustrating [that I can’t vote] especially since I’m 17 and I can’t legally voice my opinion,” said junior Dominic Garcia. “Being 17, you’re so close yet so far and having my opinion of our country’s future overlooked makes me feel invisible.”

Without the ability to show that the younger generations of this country care about what will happen to it after the next president is elected, minors indeed feel like they aren’t a part of the process. “There are items on ballots that affect everyone in the country and minors are a part of the country as much as anyone,” notes Derek Barnes, a government teacher at SBHS.

Some students argue that the voting age should be lowered, possibly to 16. Some say that 16 is when minors start learning about the importance of taking responsibility and initiative to interview for jobs or start driving. The age 16 is normally when students are juniors in high school and since the end of high school is near, they wish they could demonstrate that developing maturity by casting a ballot.

There are some disadvantages, however, to letting minors vote.

“Some minors will take it [the election] as a joke or not take it as seriously as they should,” said freshman Ella Shara Pascua. Still, she said the advantages of younger opinions being expressed far outnumber any of the disadvantages. “Honestly, if minors were allowed to vote, it would be better because minors are more open-minded and have a different mindset than adults,” argues Pascua. She also noted that she and some of her friends know they have valid arguments about what the candidates are discussing and she is frustrated that she can’t legally share them in the voting booth.

Pascua and Garcia agreed that not enough adults take enough advantage of their voting privileges, which frustrates these teens even more.

“I feel like most people [adults] don’t vote and don’t participate in their privilege of deciding our country’s future leader and I don’t understand why they wouldn’t want to take part in that process,” Pascua said.

Barnes added that not enough adults take part in the election process and says “we need more to do exactly that.” He said that if voters had a better sense that the candidates represented them individually, there may be a higher participation rate.

While the issue of the voting age has troubled minors for many elections, many understand why 18 is the voting age threshold because it’s when “people are becoming independent and moving on to the next chapter in their lives,” Garcia stated. Although many older members of the minor age group feel this way, the argument of lowering the age is still “on the table” and many minors hope that one day they will have the ability to vote earlier than just 18 so they don’t have to miss out on elections such as the one on Nov. 8, 2016.

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Nicole Gidding (Nicole Gidding)

I am a San Benito High School freshman with a strong passion for news and writing in general.


The voting age should not be lowered, in fact it should be raised to at least 21, perhaps 25.  If your judgment is such that you cannot be trusted to drink alcohol or smoke pot (in the proposed Prop 64) until you are 21 how could you be mature enough to make important political decisions before that?

Besides, all this debate about pot and alcohol has brought forth scientific studies that show that "young, developing brains" are vulnerable  to damages to age 25.  Well, if alcohol and pot can rot your developing brain to age 25, politics could probably rot your brain to at least age 40.  You guys are lucky we don't force you to stay in school until you're at least 35 just to keep the unemployment numbers down.

Now, get back to your studies before I tell your parents what you're up to especially when they are not looking.

Marty Richman

Submitted by Tod DuBois (John Galt) on

Has anyone noticed that only old people are outspoken in support of Measure W - the sales tax extension? Let's see "retiree" wants to feel safe, does not really buy much - so wants all the services for a very small spend. That makes good personal sense in a selfish financial way. 

Young people will do the bulk of consumption over the next 20 years - Wow, we oldies are burdening the youth with our personal demand for services? Yikes - that can't be what the Democrats want. 

Now I know why they went for 20 year rather than 5 like the last two times - lock in the youth with the burden before they get organized! Is this the agenda? 

Just for voter information, Hollister's Measure W is endorsed by BOTH the San Benito County Democratic Party and the San Benito County Republican Party.

Additional Community Endorsements

San Benito County Chamber of Commerce, San Benito County Business Council, San Benito County Assoc. of Realtors, Hollister Police Officers Association, Hollister Firefighters Association and LULAC of San Benito

and the following Individual  Endorsements

Mike Sanchez - Retired Educator, Will Sutton - Banker, Carol Lenoir, Hugh & Sandie Kizer, Kristin Scavuzzo, Wendy Shepherd. Casey Lucius - Candidate for Congress, Jimmy Panetta - Candidate fro Congress, Rob Pickett, Gloria Lomanto

and me (or I)... Marty Richman

Submitted by Tod DuBois (John Galt) on

The Democrats and Republicans together holding hands, singing coom-by-ya. We have done amazing things in Hollister. Do I get any credit for that Marty? 

Anyone under the age of 40 on that list? 

Submitted by Tod DuBois (John Galt) on

Upon further review we note: The Chamber of Commerce is subsidized by the city, Business Council does business with the city, Realtors do business with the city, Police and Fire get paid by the city, LULAC gets subsidized by the city - so effectively all the supporting organizations are on the city dole. 

Mike Sanchez is retired and I think lives in San Juan, Will Sutton is a banker, you can't trust bankers, Casey Lucius does not live here, Panetta does not live here, I don't know the others but I expect they are all old people wanting low cost services and wanting to put that burden on the young and the poor. Does anyone NOT understand what regressive taxation is? 

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