Youth and Democracy: Vote early, Vote often
Why the voting age should be lowered to 16?
How young is too young?
Rich democracies give different answers, depending on the context: in New Jersey you can buy alcohol at 21 and cigarettes at 19, join the army at 17, have sex at 16 and be tried in court as an adult at 14.
Such thresholds vary wildly from place to place.
Belgian youngsters can get sozzled legally at 16.
But on one thing most agree: only when you have turned 18 can you vote.
When campaigners suggest lowering the voting age, the riposte is that 16- and 17-year-olds are too immature.
This misses the real danger: that growing numbers of young people may not vote at all.
The trend across the West is disturbing.
Turnout of American voters under 25 at presidential elections fell from 50% in 1972 to 38% in 2012; among over-65s it rose from 64% to 70% (data for the 2016 election are not yet available).
For congressional races, the under-25 vote was a dire 17% in 2014.
A similar pattern is repeated across the rich world.
Young people’s disenchantment with the ballot box matters because voting is a habit: those who do not take to it young may never start.
That could lead to ever-lower participation rates in decades to come, draining the legitimacy of governments in a vicious spiral in which poor turnout feeds scepticism towards democracy, and vice versa.
The disillusionment has many causes. The young tend to see voting as a choice rather than a duty (or, indeed, a privilege).
The politically active tend to campaign on single issues rather than for a particular party.
Politicians increasingly woo older voters—not only because they are more likely to vote but also because they make up a growing share of the electorate.
Many young people see elections stacked against them.
It is no surprise, then, that many of them turn away from voting.
Some countries make voting compulsory, which increases turnout rates.
But that does not deal with the underlying disillusionment.
Governments need to find ways to rekindle the passion, rather than continue to ignore its absence.
A good step would be to lower the voting age to 16, ensuring that new voters get off to the best possible start
This would be no arbitrary change.
1.depending on 依靠；依赖
例句:I tend to have a different answer, depending on the family.
2.make up 组成
例句:I think it's very unkind of you to make up stories about him.
3.deal with 处理；应付
例句:When I worked in Florida I dealt with British people all the time
4.get off 动身；脱下；下车
例句:Excuse me, I have to get off at the next stop.