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Speak Out
Should 16-year-olds be allowed to vote?

January 8, 2014

By Jeremy Quattlebaum, Student Voices staff writer

Turning 16 is big. In most states, being 16 means the freedom of driving and getting a job without parental approval. But in Takoma Park, Md., it comes with another responsibility – voting.

About 350 16- and 17-year-olds were granted the right to vote in local elections, making them the only enfranchised Americans under the age of 18.

Ben Miller, a Montgomery Blair High School junior and part-time gelato artisan, voted on Nov. 5. He told the Washington Post: “It’s a valuable privilege.”

While the Takoma Park students cannot vote in state and national elections, they can affect elections on the local level. Miller, for example, voted not only in the mayoral election but also for his local council member. The under-18 voters can also vote on local issues like bonds and changes to the town charter.

Why would a town want to lower the voting age? Simply put, engagement and enfranchisement.

“The question was, ‘How do we get more people to vote?’¬ ” said Councilman Tim Male, who introduced the proposal. It was one of several changes to city election rules this year that were designed to boost turnout. Faced with a dismal 19 percent voter turnout in local elections, council members began to discuss ways to get more people to the polls.

After considering proposals for same-day registration and allowing felons to vote in local elections, the council heard from Rob Richie, director of the national reform organization FairVote and a Takoma Park resident, who had read reports about how 16-year-olds would be more receptive to voting than their counterparts two years older.

Eighteen-year-olds, it turns out, “are not a very good first voting age group,” Richie said, because many of them are in the midst of leaving their childhood homes. “As you get more disrupted in your life, the less likely you are to vote,” he said. “Voting is this communitarian act; it is about a connection to a broader community.”

Residents against lowering the voting age said young people don’t have enough perspective to vote. One person said that teens should not be allowed to “dilute” the value of the ballots cast by “older, more experienced voters.”

Most of the 350 newly enfranchised did not vote even though they had the right, something that the council members expected. The Takoma Park city clerk said about 90 16- and 17-year-olds registered to vote.

Miller is aware that he is part of a tiny vanguard. “I understand the apathy. How much of a difference will it really make?” he said. “I’m still excited about the opportunity. The turnout is so low, even a small amount could make a difference.”

What do you think?

Would expanding voting rights to 16-year-olds increase voter turnout? If you were given the chance, would you vote? Does the fact they are limited to voting in only elections minimize their responsibility? Do 16-year-olds have enough perspective on life to vote? Join the discussion and let us know what you think!
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Comments
9/12/2014
Lancaster PA
Kalista Chapman
Ms.Grothey ER Elementary School
I believe that 16 year olds shouldn't be able to vote. Conceptualize 16 yr olds voting and the United States Of America having a horrible president and trying to vote on something they are not intimate with.Yeah, they learned but some of these teenagers are not responsible and don't know what they are doing and mess something up. But just envision 16 year olds that do not have a education. They are not going to be astute about voting and the president being someone abominable and ruin the country. That is why 16 year olds should not be able to vote.

9/9/2014
murrieta ca
corrine
jabro creekside high
Should 16-year-old be allowed to vote? The answer is no. Imagine all these young 16-year-old kids trying to vote on something they are not to familiar with. Yes they have learned about in school, but they dont fully understand it yet, for the majority of kids. . imagine all these unedcutaded kids voting for who is going to govern our country.

9/6/2014
Murrieta CA
Lily
Mr.Jabro Creekside Highschool
It would indeed increase the voter turn out,but it could either be for better or worse. I feel that 16 year olds do not know enough about about the government and political parties to have a valid say on our next president. I would not vote if I was 16 and able to,i'm 18 and still refuse to vote. Only voting in elections does not minimize their responsibility,one vote could mean the change of a life time. I do not think that 16 year olds have enough perspective on life to vote,depending on what they have gone through of course. When I was 16 I was very intelligent and had been through a lot at that point,but I wouldn't trust myself to vote. So no,they do not.

8/25/2014
Murrieta, Ca
Isaac
Mr. Jabro / CHS
I think that 16 year olds should not have the right to vote. I feel that many 16 year olds do not have the political knowledge to decide who would be the right person for the job. If i had the right to vote i would not because i dont know enough about the government to see what the person im voting for would do for us.

6/15/2014
Stroudsburg PA
Carol Melo
Mr. Hanna/ Stroudsburg JHS
I tihink that espanding the age of voitng at 16-yeat-olds would increase voters turnout. Also if i have the chance to vote i would vote. i believed that maybe 16-year-old would not have too much expirences as an adult, but i think they have some knowledge to do the right vote.

6/13/2014
Stroudsburg,PA
Timera T
Mr.Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I believe expanding the right to vote to 16-year-olds would increase the voted turnout. If I had the right to vote I would most definitely do it. I don't think letting sixteen year olds only vote in elections minimizes their responsibility. If you can vote, you can vote. Sixteen years do have a enough perspective in life. By sixteen you should be mature enough to have some type of view on life.

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
Rabeea
Mr.Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I dont think 16-year olds should be able to vote because I think they are too young and many do not fully understand what is best for our country. Also I believe that 16-year olds wont really take advantage of this opportunity because they already have things that are more urgent in their lives to think about such as getting a license, getting a car, keeping good grades in school, and keeping a stable social life.

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg,PA
Kyeer
Mr.Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
Yes 16 year olds should be able to vote because at age 16 your considered an adult you can drive and you should be able to make reasonable and responsible decisions .

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
Christian P.
Mr. Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I think 16 year old should not be able to vote because they are inexperienced and should wait until at least 18. They have other responsibilities such as car payments and finding a job. I also think they shouldn't because they wouldn't be honest about the vote. They would just vote whoever their friends are voting for instead of voting for one you personally know about and are ok with.

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
Colin Brady
Mr.Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I think 16 year olds should be allowed to vote because they are mature by that age. More people would vote to because I know if I was 16 and allowed to vote I would most defiantly do it. So outcomes in Presidential campaigns might be different. And why wouldn't a 16 have the right perspective to vote? If he did a little research he would be set.

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
Mike
Mr. Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I think that giving 16 year old's the right to vote is a mistake. I know this because 16 year old's aren't experienced enough to vote based on their own understanding. As it turned out, allowing 16 year old's to vote did relatively nothing because a large percentage did not vote. 16 year olds also are more occupied with school, music, and finding a girlfriend/boyfriend than politics.

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg PA
Nadia S
Mr. Hanna Stroudsburg JHS
I don't think expanding voting rights to 16 year olds improve the voter turnout. Maybe for the first few years it will because 16 year old will older and more respected but 16 year old don't really care about who's the president. If given the option to vote I would not do it because I honestly don't know that much about politics and I don't really pay attention to that type of stuff. I don't think that 16 year olds have enough perspective on life to vote. 16 year old have other things to worry about like getting a job and school. They don't fully understand politics .

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg,PA
JabareeM
Mr.Hanna/ Stroudsburg JHS
They shouldn't be able too vote because they aren't fully focused on who would be the best at the job. No because I don't fully understand what they mean. Yes so the voted is the best it could be.

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg PA
Kyle H
Mr. Hanna/ Stroudsburg JHS
I believe 16 year olds shouldn't be able to vote. They shouldn't be because at the age of 18 you can do a lot of things and a lot of things and happen to you. At 18 you can just the military, you can get convicted for crimes as an adult, and maybe even buy a house. 16 you are not an adult, 18 is. 18 should say the age to vote.

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
Adam
Mr. Hanna/stroudsburg JHS
I think 16 year olds should be allowed to vote for many reasons. I think first off people should be allowed to vote when they're 14 and it's there opinion which is freedom of speech. Also 16 year olds could be very influential. They could get other people to vote by going over social media. It could attract a lot of attention for 16 year olds on social media. I also think it would lead to better campaigns with more people voting. I think 16 year olds should be allowed to vote.

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
Amanda A.
Mr. Hanna/ Stroudsburg JHS
I think that 16-year-olds should be allowed to vote. I do think having 16-year-olds vote would increase voter turn-out. The fact that "Most of the 350 newly enfranchised did not vote even though they had the right, something that the council members expected. The Takoma Park city clerk said about 90 16- and 17-year-olds registered to vote." This shows that giving 16-year-olds the right to vote would most definitely make voter turnout increase. If I were given the chance to vote, I would surely vote. It would make me feel part of my "community" I guess, rather just a resident on the side. The fact that their only limited to voting in elections does not minimize their responsibility because they are only 16 and it would kind of be like a "getting ready" type thing so that they know what they're doing when they turn 18. 16-year-olds do have enough perspective on life to vote, they've learned enough and have the right mind capacity and mindset to know what they're doing and think over the candidates.

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
AbbyT
Mr. Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I believe 16 year olds should be able to how but only if they have a certain grade point average and are educated about the candidates. If they are educated about the voting and are serious about it I see no harm in having them vote.

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg / PA
Michael I.
Mr. Hanna/ Stroudsburg JHS
16 year olds should not be able to vote. I know for sure some people are not mature enough to talk about simple things so how can we trust them to make good decisions about important things. Most 16 year olds don't know anything about the people they are electing. We cannot let them mess up our future!

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
Audrey R
Mr.Hanna/Stroudburg JHS
I do not think 16 year olds should not be able to vote. As a 14 year old, I am not very well familiar or even interested in political matter. I do not believe 16 or even 18 year olds even have enough life experience to vote for the next POTUS

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg pa
Sydney L
Mr. Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I don't think that 16 year olds should vote. They are not quite adults yet. Some of them can't even drive! I think that the law of 18 year olds being able to vote is better than 16 year olds. They are not as experienced. I realize that it's only two more years but it is a lot more of maturity.

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
Caitlin P.
Mr.Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
Personally , I don't think 16 year olds should be allowed to vote. It's a really big responsibility even for an adult , imagine how big it is for a 16 year old. If I was 16, and was allowed to vote, I probably wouldn't even think about it. Being 16 is a time where kids like to have fun, and not really care about anything, they don't want to think about who's the best to vote for and stuff like that, and honestly in my opinion most 16 year olds aren't mature enough to vote, at all. Their opinions will most likely be based off who their friends are voting for, and not their own. Also, most 16 year olds know close to nothing about politics, so although it's getting more people to vote, it's not the right kind of people you'd want voting.

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
Devon B
Mr. Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I think that expanding voting rights to sixteen year olds would increase the voter turnout because it gives more people the chance to vote and most people will choose to vote if given the chance. If I was given the chance to vot I would. If other people who are older get to vote for people who are going to help me I want to choose who I want that to be and voting gives me that chance. The fact that they are are limited to voting in only elections doesn't minimize the responsibility any chance to vote is a big deal. I think sixteen year olds do have enough perspective on life to vote.

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg PA
Ryan D
Mr. Hanna Stroudsburg jhs
I don't think that 16 year olds should be aloud to vote. My reasoning for this is that a lot of them don't have the maturity to have a part in something that will affect the whole United States.

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
will s
Mr.Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I don't think 16 year olds should be able to vot because they don't care about the President's campaign and shouldn't have to worry about stuff like this. That is why I believe that 16 year olds shouldn't be able to vote

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
Edwin
Mr. Hanna/ Stroudsburg JHS
16 shouldn't have the power to vote. Yet they should worrying about supporting there family and having fun. Most 16 year olds don't even care about a president's speech of why you should vote for them. I'll say this if a 16 doesn't study for any tests why would they care to vote??

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg/PA
John
Mr. Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I think that 16 year olds should be able to vote, but ever 3 people should count as one professional vote. I think this because at 16 year old, you should've learned about congress and voting by then. But at 16 years old it should only count as 1 vote for every three people.

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
Kyle J
Mr. Hanna/ Stroudsburg JHS
16-year-olds should note have the ability to vote. At 16 you have other responsibilities to take care of, such as finding a job or getting a car. Voting can't be added onto their priority list right now. Most teens would also most likely vote based on who their friends are voting for, which would completely derail the voting system.Another problem would be that they would neglect it's importance, instead of voting based on their peers they would even worse vote for anyone randomly to get it over with. And at 16 years old you really don't have much of a large perspective on life, as mentioned in the writer's piece. At that age you are more worried about yourself and not your community, to put it bluntly their minds are fixated on personal benefit, not that of their state or their entire country for that matter. The voting age should remain as it is , because as of right now most 16-year-olds do not have the time or mental dexterity to be an active voter.

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
Caitlin B.
Mr.Hanna/ Stroudsburg JHS
I honestly dont think that 16 year olds should be allowed to vote. There inexperienced and are not even adults. I think when your 18 and are just becoming an adult its Okay. 16 year olds have more things to worry about then voting for who will be the next POTUS. I dont think 16 year olds shouldbe able to vote.

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg/PA
Diamond R
Mr. Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I don't think that 16 year olds should be allowed to vote. If I was given the chance to vote I honestly wouldn't because I feel that I do not know enough about politics yet. I also think that 16 year olds are not mature enough to make those types of decisions yet.

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg/PA
Brooke M
Mr. Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I believe that 16 year olds should be able to vote. This will increase the number of people that vote. Although 16 year olds may be inexperienced with politics, they should still be able to have a say in voting because it might be helpful to see what teenagers believe would be the right vote. Therefore, I believe 16 year olds should be able to vote .

6/11/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
Hamed
Mr.Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
Expanding voting rights to 16-year-olds would most likely increase voter turnout. However, sixteen year olds should not be able to vote because most of them do not understand the importance of their vote. I would not vote if I had the chance because I would not understand everything about the election.

6/11/2014
Stroudsburg PA
Sidney L
Mr.Hanna SJHS
I do not think that 16 year olds should have the right to vote. I don't think they know enough about politics to be able to understand much about presidential elections. I believe that when you turn 18 you are mature enough and have more knowledge about politics.

6/11/2014
Stroudsburg PA
Talia g
Mr. Hanna stroudsburg JHS
Sixteen year olds should be able to vote. By the time you are sixteen you are old enough to make good decisions and be responsible. Although I believe that when you are sixteen you should be allowed to vote, you should only be allowed to vote for local elections.

6/11/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
Kayla H
Mr. Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I do not believe 16 years olds should be allowed to vote. They do not have enough perspective on life. Also, when you're 18 is when you're considered an adult. Voting is a privilege and at 16 you may not understand how big that privilege is.

6/4/2014
Washington NJ
Dustin
Mrs. Rokosny Warrenhills Regional Highschool
Sixteen year olds should not be allowed to vote at such an age. At this age teens are not yet mature enough to partake in this very serious and crucial matter. Our founding fathers granted the vote to virtuous adults, and it is evident that teens at age sixteen are not the most virtuous of people. At this age students still lack basic knowledge that is needed to formulate an educated opinion on political issues. Teenagers at this time are still in the process of maturing and still learning essential components needed when faced with the obstacle of voting. The vote must be only given to the virtuous and educated who truly and fully understand the importance of this constitutional right, and in today's society the average sixteen year old does not exhibit these features.

5/28/2014
Maple, WI
Kyra
Mr.Crail/Northwestern
I personally feel like not all 16 year olds understand why voting is such an important things. I feel like I’d have a hard time trusting my peers to do research on issues and people that would be voting on/for. From my personal experience just talking about issues at schools, I’ve learned that we don’t often look up information, more as we just repeat what we have heard- changing facts into more of a mere opinion. If I had the opportunity to vote, I would only vote if I knew enough facts about all the options. Don’t get me confused, I’m not saying that all 16 year olds are irresponsible; however, I feel like we need a little more education and life skills before we vote on important issues.

5/27/2014
Princeton/NJ
BethBlizzard
Mrs. Gigliotti/JWMS
I think 16 year olds should vote. If they want to just follow what their parents do or pick a candidate randomly, that's their choice. There are some older voters who do that! Besides, most states like 16 year olds drive and get jobs. Why can't they vote? Driving takes more maturity than voting! Staying 16 year olds shouldn't vote because they might not be informed is silly. Many Americans over 18 who vote aren't informed and we don't say they can't vote. Being uniformed is their choice. And besides, how do you know 16 year olds won't be informed? I'm 14 and I watch CNN every day. Saying 16 year olds won't be informed because they're young is unfair and stereotypical. Let 16 year olds vote!

5/20/2014
boston Ma
andrea williams
english high school
i think teens should vote at the age of 16

5/13/2014
Murrieta Ca
Sebastian Salinas
Mr.Jabro/Creekside High School
No I believe 16 year olds are too irresponsible and they really wouldn't have there own say about it. They would most likely be following in there parents footsteps or just copying what they voted for. I believe they aren't considered adults yet for a reason so they shouldn't be able to vote.

5/7/2014
Rudyard/MT
Kat
Mrs.Campbell/ North Star High School
No, 16 year olds tend to be more irresponsible and unattentive to whats happening during an election. So to have a 16 year old vote, would be to add to the number of uninformed voters that vote in the United States each year.

5/6/2014
Rudyard/MT
Kat
Mrs.Campbell/ North Star High School
No, 16 year olds tend to be more irresponsible and unattentive to whats happening during an election. So to have a 16 year old vote, would be to add to the number of uninformed voters that vote in the United States each year.

5/1/2014
baltimore maryland
kozara
carole alban glenmount
we ask should 16 year olds be able to vote yes yes yes

5/1/2014
Illionis
Mahnaaz
Hellen Keller Junior high
i think 16 years old should be able to vote because as the are allowed to drive, get jobs at this age they should also have the responsibility to vote. :D

4/29/2014
Washinton DC
Garrett Hassinger
Gonzaga College High School
I do believe that 16 year old PRE-ADULTS should be allowed to vote. If they can drive a car why can't they vote. We put them in control of others lives with a car and we aren't going to let them vote?? Thats's absurd!!!!

4/28/2014
Anchorage,Ak
Elijah
voss/Begich middle school
12 years of age is a good time to vote because everyone is in middle school learning about the government types and politics

4/9/2014
Harrison/MI
Blayne
Mr.Smith/Harrison Highschool
I dont think Letting 16 Year olds vote would be a good thing. Just because they just have gotten there drivers license doesnt mean that they are good choice-Makers. Having Due to the fact of not being fully educated about certain topics and subjects that are highly essential to know who would be a proper Commander and Chief. Dont get me wrong, im not saying evryone over the age of 18 makes good decisions but education can go a long way if you truly care.

4/8/2014
charlotte nc
charlie
trinity episcopal
16 yearolds should vote because they might develope a love for polotics #16yearolds

3/11/2014
Bellville henderson
Gregory
Miss Colby
Letting the voting age drop to 16 in local elections might up the voter turnout. But i do not think you should be able to vote at that age just for the reason on being educated in such matters. When you're 18 years of age you have a broad view of the world and matters conserning it rather then 16. Also who is to say that you will just follow what your friends voted for instead of doing the reseach and finding what's right yourself. Only time will tell if every desition made will effect the area in a negative way; we'll just have to wait an see what happens.

3/11/2014
Belleville New York
Taylor
Miss Coldy/Belleville Henderson
I believe that 16 year olds should not be able to vote. In my opinion they are immature and they dont understand whats going on. They dont pay any attention to whats going on in governmental issues that are important and may change their lives.

3/7/2014
Belleville/New York
Jazmine
Miss Colby/Belleville Hendersonq
I do not think that 16-year-olds should be entitled to voting. This choice would not increase the voter turnout. Most 16-year-olds aren't educated enough on voting. I would understand if they were educated on the whole netire voting process and were mature. But , lets face it, most 16-year-olds aren't mature enough to vote. The fact that voting is 18 and up does not limit the voter turnout. You should have to be 18 to vote because when you turn 18 you are a legal adult. Most adults have the knowlege and information to make an educated decision.

3/7/2014
Belleville/ New York
Bre
Colby/BHCS
Expanding voting rights to 16-year-olds will increase to voter turnout, since most 16-year-olds want to be adventurous and try new things, but at 16 they shouldn't be allowed to vote. Simply because they don't know much about running for office, natural crisis, and making decisions, that can affect everyone. They don't have enough perspective to look at every angle of the situation to be able to vote. In order to vote you need to be able to look at both of the parties side, to see what their goals are, and how they are going to help the community. At 16, a teenagers only responsibility is to have fun,and maintain grade to graduate from high school.

3/7/2014
Belleville/NY
Jake
Miss Colby/Belleville Henderson
I personally do not think that 16-year-olds should be allowed to vote because many of them at that age are unaware of what is actually going on in our country. Speaking from experience, I barely even knew what was going on, let alone who I would have voted for at the time. If you look at the voting age today, 18, even still there are many 18-year-olds who don't even pay attention the issues in our country and most of them still vote. Therefore, I think that the voting age needs to remain where it is.

3/7/2014
New York
Alan
Belleville Henderson
I believe that sixteen year-olds should not be able to vote. When you turn 16, the amount of responsibily that an individual has increases dramatically. Weither it be getting a permit or license or being able to move away from home, there are so many changes within an individual's life. Voting should be held from young adults until the age of 18. By then, people become interested in the world of politics and realize what they want from their government. It is then that they are truely mature enough to make educated decisions such as voting. At age eighteen, you become a true adult and should be permitted to have the freedom to speak your mind through an offical ballot.

3/7/2014
Belleville/NY
Abbey
Miss Colby/Belleville Henderson
I absolutely do not feel that 16 year olds should be allowed to vote. You are not even considered to be an adult until the age of 18. Not to mention, although kids around that age are very intelligent, they don't always understand certain concepts and controversial issues that occur. 16 year olds tend to go along with their opinion and how they feel about a situation or a person in particular, rather than facts and what is right for our country. Having opinions is important, however, sometimes having opinions can get out of control with particular topics and it comes off as being biased.

3/7/2014
Belleville/ NY
Skyllar
Colby/ BHCS
I dont think sixteen years olds should have the right to vote becasue it dosent mean that they will all be responsible to go out and vote and know who they are voting for.

3/7/2014
Belleville/NY
Tristan Jacob
Colby/Belleville Henderson
I believe that 16 year olds should be allowed to vote on a local level. By the time you're sixteen you are typically involved with your community and aware of what is going on. That being said, it makes more sense that they be allowed to vote. There are many times when a person around the age of 16 will want to be a part of their community and help make a difference. This will give them that chance. Also, it will help them get eased into the voting process as opposed to just being dropped into it at 18, when people are typically beginning to live on their own and have more important things to do. By having them start in local elections, it limits their major effect, and thus not giving them an overload of responsibility.

3/7/2014
Belleville, New York
Chelsea
Miss Colby/ Belleville Henderson
The Majority of 16 year old's do not watch the news, they don't pay close attention to many governmental issues. those who do pay attention don't really pay enough. if 16 year olds were given the right to vote, it would most likely Hinder the evolution of this country. the voting age should remain to those who actually know what they are voting for. 16 years are to influenced by their surroundings, making them most likely to just "vote for whoever everyone else is voting for", which is not necessarily a good thing. The voting age is fine the way it is

3/7/2014
NY
Tiffani
BHCS
When i was sixteen i would have answered with a yes to feel useful, however, looking at the sixteen year olds now a days i change that answer. 18 years old is a decent age, not too old not too young; being sixteen you hear rumors and hearing the wrong thing could change a persons view and wrong decisions could be made. 16 year olds are gullible therefore, NO

3/7/2014
Belleville NY
Ashley
Colby Belleville Henderson
At 16 we are finally given the freedom we always wanted: driving. Sixteen is the big "coming of age" and everyone counts down til their 16th birthday. At 16 we're given more responsibilites and people hold higher standards for us, but should they be allowed to vote? Absolutely not. At 16 we're still ignorant, and we haven't learned how to listen. At 16 we believe that our opinion is the only right one, and everyone else is wrong. Of course that's not the case, and at 18 the real world hits you and all those lessons you were taught at 16 come rushing back. If we give 16 year olds the right to vote you bypass the important stages of teaching them that other opinons matter. You also bypass the age where they learn how to listen and become better citizens. They need to be educated on voting, and personally I'd rather wait til I'm 18 to vote. I will have graduated high school, I would have learned about politics, and I'll be a legal adult. I would rather have well educated ADULTS vote, rather than have KIDS vote for important things, like who's going to be the next president.

3/7/2014
Belleville ny
Megan
Colby
I beleive that at the age of 16 you should be allowed to vote in the local elections, but by no means in a federal election. At the age of 16 you finally get to get your license and get a job. Alot of local elections may have effect on your rules as a 16 or 17 year old licensed driver or as a 16 or 17 year old working. I beleive that you should be able to vote if something is going to effect you. With federal elections I think it should be left at 18. I know that when I was 16 and 17 I didnt worry about anything other then school, work, and passing my drives test. I never paid any attention to the new or what was going on around that country I was conserned about me and my county.

3/7/2014
ny
thurmanb
belleville
no this is why chances are that they wont know who or what to vote fori know that when i was 16 i had zero respnsibility let alone the fact that i never payed attention to what went on in the world

3/7/2014
Belleville, New York
Milinda
Colby/Belleville Henderson
I don't sixteen years old would be the appropriate age to be able to vote. At sixteen people have a different perspective on things so how would they know who they want for president. Thats too big of a choice to put into a kids hands. At 18 most people have matured and have a good perspective on things and have different beliefs. At sixteen your still going through changes and chosing someone for president is a big decision and 16 year olds, I think shouldn't decide that. They need more time to think about who would make a better president, what kind of person they want and even whether they want a Democrat or Republican. Theres a lot to learn about the goverment before you vote, and how to even register to vote. The appropriate age to vote is 18 if not a higher age.

3/7/2014
New York
Megan
Colby
16 year olds should not be allowed to vote. At the age of 16 you are still considered a child. Most kids at the age of 16 really aare not worried about what is going on around them and they may vote for something that they would vhange their mind on in the future. If we were allowed 16 year olds to vote i do not believe that it would make our country any better than it is now.

3/7/2014
Belleville New York
Daniel
Miss. Colby Belleville Henderson
I don't think 16 year olds should be able to vote, I know at 16 that I myself wasn't informed enough to be able to go to the polls and vote. I feel like 18 is a more mature age where you will take things like voting a lot more seriously. Voting is a very serious thing and should be handled with respect and seriousness, I personally don't think a 16 year old would be able to handle it.

3/7/2014
belleville, ny
emily
colby/bhcs
i dont believe that sixteen year olds should be able to vote becasue they are still too young. they dont understand how the government completly works yet and learn more about it in school for a few years or over a year so they have a better understanding to why they are voting for a certain person or if they should even vote at all.

3/7/2014
NY
Christine
Ms. Colby/BHCS
I do not believe that 16 year olds should be given the right to vote. In my opinion 16 years of age is too young to be trusted with that amount of power. Most 16 year olds are not well informed, or at least well informed enough to make the decision on who should run this country. I believe 18 is the appropriate age for voting.

3/7/2014
Belleville/New York
Jocelyn
Miss. Colby/Belleville-Henderson
i don't think sixteen year olds should be able to vote because ,even though more people would vote because the age requirement decreased, it would cause a lot of problems because, even though when you are sixteen you can drive and get a job and you are a young adult, when you are 18 i feel that you have more life experience and your view on things are much more clearer than that of a 16 year old. and i don't think that all 16 year olds are educated enough to know about politics, and I'm not saying that all sixteen year olds are non-educated when it comes to the world of politics and voting and which party they belong to. I feel that when you are that age you tend to lean towards whatever party your parents favor which is OK but as you get older your opinion on stuff changes and the party that you agree with most may not be that of which your parents favor

3/7/2014
Belleville/NY
Kristin
Colby/Belleville
I don't think that 16 year olds should be allowed to vote. Most (not all, but most) 16 year olds aren't paying a lot of attention to legal matters. Even if they are paying attention, at 16 years old a lot of people are very stubborn and set in their ways, and they sometimes have a hard time seeing both sides of every story. Also, I feel like many 16 year olds would just vote for who their parents/guardians are voting for. At 16 people are still learning and are being influenced heavily by the people around them. I just think 16 is just too young to make decisions like that. I understand that they want more people to vote, but I would rather have less voters, but have the voters be educated in the matter they're voting for, and really understand what and who they're voting for, than have a lot of voters who have no clue.

3/7/2014
Belleville, NY
Hannah
Miss Colby
Most 16 year olds don't know anything about voting. They don't know how to register or they don't know who to vote for. They have other stuff on their minds, not who is the best candidate for the position. I believe that 16 year olds shouldn't be allowed to vote. There many be some scenarios where it is accepted and that is fine. But the majority of the population pf 16 year olds doesn't know, or simple doesn't care about voting. 16 year olds shouldn't be allowed to vote. They should have to wait until they are 18.

3/7/2014
Belleville/ New York
Katy
Colby
I don't think 16 year olds should be voting. They're young, immature adults. They think they know everything, when in reality they are just simply immature. Some 16 year olds can't grasp the concept of what is going on because they don't think its the best solution and they can do it better. Therefore, 16 year olds should not be able to vote.

3/7/2014
NY
Tyler
Colby
When I was 16 I wasn't making some of the wisest decisions. If you can barely use common sense how should you be allowed to vote. once you turn 18 you are normally out of high school land a forced to become and adult. when you are 16 you are still under your parents supervision. You need much more maturity to vote than you have at the age of 16.

3/5/2014
Norman, OK
Gadel
Moore Norman Technology Center
I don't think 16 year old people, young adults, have enough life experience to be able to vote. Even at 18 years of age, a lot of young adults do not have enough life experiences to vote. I would love to see the voting change to at least age 21. Most young people age 16 do not understand or take interest in legal matters and the all around effect that the legal matters will have long term. Also, most 16 year old, not all, but most are still following the latest fashion trends and their maturity is not at the best level. 16 year old, young adults, are very impressionable still and can be easily led in the wrong direction.

2/26/2014
Washington/NJ
John
Rokosny / Warren Hills RegionalHigh School
There is no doubt in my mind that allowing sixteen year olds to enter the voting pool would increase the voter turnout in the United States opposed to the lack of response from eighteen year olds the government thought they would obtain, but why? Simply put, eighteen year olds may be moving out of their house to enter a life on independence, but sixteen year olds still bunkered down in their home for two more years (most of the time) will be dragged to the polls to duplicate their parents vote, and that is precisely why sixteen year olds should not be given the privilege (as it is not a right) to vote in elections no matter the level of politics. I can speak for myself and plenty of other of my peers that are entering the age of eighteen with me, our minds were not as mature and politically informed two years ago as they are now. Politics of course does not garner interest from everyone nor is the level of political knowledge the same in everyone, but still, two years from sixteen to eighteen is a much bigger gap than one would think. In many states, the age of sixteen means driving…but only if your parent is in the passenger seat, so there is no doubt to me that when a sixteen year old drives to the polls with their parents in the passenger seat, that due to a lack of being politically inclined and mentally mature, they will be in the passenger seat of their parents’ poll duplicating their parents’ vote not out of any sort of intellectual independence though.

2/26/2014
Mosinee/WI
Abigail
Mosinee High School
I do not think that 16-year-olds should be able to vote. Most kids at this age are ignorant or not educated enough to form an educated vote in politics. Some could argue with me and say that many adults are uneducated in politics as well, but they are adults and it is completely expected from them to be educated on such a topic. It is a great thing that we have 16 and 17 year olds educated in politics, but it is not expected out of them. The kids who wish to vote at a younger age should look forward to voting when they become an adult because they will be the political leaders of our generation.

2/13/2014
Sidney. MT
Destiny
Mr. Faulhaber/Sidney HighSchool
16 year old should not be allowed to vote, not ALL 16 year olds are educated enough to know about polotics.

2/13/2014
MT
Daryn
Mr Faulhaber
i do not think that 16 year old are responsible enough yet to vote. many young people dont even have their own opinion about politicts and many will just vote for what their parents vote for.

2/13/2014
Sidney, MT
Brandon
Mr. Faulhaber
I believe that 16 year olds should not be able to vote. Yes that may be the age of when you first get your car and license, but being that young you wont have a full understanding of politics. Even being 18 you still don't have a full understanding of politics.

2/13/2014
Sidney, MT
Daria
Mr. Faulhaber/Sidney High School
I feel that 16 year olds should be able to vote. I think this would benifit the younger generation because it would allow the students to get involved with their counrtys government. It would also educate the kids about politics and how the counrty is ran. I believe that younger people do have valuable opinions and ideas for the government and politics. It would provide more input for the government.

2/13/2014
Rudyard/MT
Sarah
Mrs. Campbell/ North Star Schools
I think that lowering the voter age to 16 would increase voter turnout, at least a little. 16 and 17 year olds definitely have less to think about that the 18 and older age group so they would have more time to spare registering and voting. In small local elections when they know the candidates this could be a good thing because the would know the facts and could make informed decision. However, I don't think they have enough perspective to vote in bigger elections. Adults who are experienced in the fields of politics barely know the policies of the people they vote for; there is no way a 16 year old would. They have just broken out into the real world and they would be influenced greatly by the way they parents and their peers voted. When I was a minor I think I definitely would have voted in town elections. I don't think I would of voted in nation wide elections though because I didn't really care, and paying attention to the campaigns took too much work.

2/11/2014
Washington, NJ
Isaac Q.
Warren Hills/ Mrs. Rokosny
While the, many of other students in my AP Gov. class feel that 16 year olds are too immature to vote I disagree. Regardless of whether or not they should be allowed to vote, it is our constitutional responsibility to allow everyone to vote, regardless of how we may feel about them. Who are we to say that someone is "immature" so they do not get a say in an election. This would be limiting a person’s democratic right based on personality and behavioral traits. In theory, the same argument could be used against anyone, including a fifty year old adult, provided I don't like their behaviors of personality. I should not have the right to take their rights away. And who is to say that a number defines an age where someone becomes politically aware. Is it such where, following a cascade of golden light and the alignment of the planets at a specific moment in time, a person becomes enlightened with an opinion; and where they are transformed from an ignorant child to a fully knowledgeable adult? I would love to hear from someone who saw such a wonder. That being said, I do support the voting age being lowered to 16, or possibly even lower. There may be many more opportunities for voter fraud or coercion, but the fact remains that high school age students are influenced 24/7 by decisions that they are not permitted to make. While we may not in trust the right to gamble, pre-18 people may still be paying taxes (I did), driving (I did) and required to attend school (all of which is decided and managed though public voting or the election of school board members).

2/7/2014
Hackettstown/NJ
Arthur Salty Cheung
Mrs. Rokosny
At the age of 16, students are still trying to figure out what they believe in and have so many more priorities that they would rather have consume their time than keeping up with politics. Many will not understand the monumental value of their vote for a candidate. Most will still just be learning basic US History and what exactly it means to be part of a political party. Intricate politics and government would and should be the last of their worries. The implications of voting in itself is too complicated an issue for such a young person to understand during such an early part of their life. Many of the influences that should affect which candidate a person votes for are non existent in the life of a 16 year old. Therefore, they will not only lack the necessary experience, but the vital reasons to vote. Many will likely vote the same candidate as their parents who still hold much control over their lives. With the power of voting being so great, voting is not only gift but also a responsibility that can only be trusted in people at the appropriate age.

2/7/2014
Washington/NJ
Evan Turner
Rokosny/Warren Hills Regional High School
Under no circumstances, ever, should 16 year olds be allowed to vote for any kind of important position in our country's federal government, especially for the president of the United States. While the age of 16 is a big milestone in one's life, as it is often the age at which one is legally allowed to drive, and in some cultures is the age of a rite of passage, these achievements have nothing to do with politics. While 16, one is most likely still living at home with their parents, which means they are still under their parents influence. At the age of 16, one is also not applicable to many laws in our country because they are too young. The only people to vote should be those who will be directly represented by those they vote for, and those who will e directly affected by the laws put into place by those they are voting for. For the same reason we have an electoral college to represent our people, we have parents and guardians to represent our children. MOst 16 year olds are not well informed enough about politics to properly make a secure decision as to who they will vote for depending on their personal beliefs and needs. They will simply vote for who their parents tell them to, or possibly who they don't tell them to in an act to spite their parents, as many teens would love to do. This would cause a great imbalance in the system and bad results from polls. Until citizens of America are legal adults, they should not be allowed to vote.

2/7/2014
Washington/New Jersey
Kanisha
Rokosny
Citizens in the United States can not drink alcohol until they are 21 years of age. We can not join the armed forces until we are 18. We can not buy a house or be considered legal adults until the age of 18. 18 is the magic number of maturity and responsibility in this country, and to lower the voting age to 16 may have disastrous results. I agree that voter participation is greatly lacking in our nation, but allowing minors to vote is not the solution. At the age of 16, students are only just in high school, still living at home, with very few real responsibilities in life. They have yet to obtain any strenuous responsibility and are only just beginning to approach maturity. Teenagers are very easily influenced by those around them: their peers, their families, the adults in their lives. At age 16, they have yet to reach a mature mindset that would allow them to make an informed and reasonable decision at the polls. At that age they are just beginning to become exposed to the world of politics. Yes, allowing 16 year old citizens to vote at the polls may increase voter turnout, but is it really worth it to increase voter participation if votes are made irrationally with negative results. Voters of such a young age group would not be informed enough or knowledgeable enough about laws and politics to make informed and reasonable decisions at the polls. With the slew of teenage drinking, teenage pregnancies, and other societal problems that are a result of young immaturity, it would not be a wise decision to allow these children to make decisions for our country. 16 is simply too young of an age for voters.

2/7/2014
Washington NJ
Dustin
Mrs. Rokosny Warrenhills Regional Highschool
Sixteen year olds should not be allowed to vote at such an age. At this age teens are not yet mature enough to partake in this very serious and crucial matter. Our founding fathers granted the vote to virtuous adults, and it is evident that teens at age sixteen are not the most virtuous of people. At this age students still lack basic knowledge that is needed to formulate an educated opinion on political issues. Teenagers at this time are still in the process of maturing and still learning essential components needed when faced with the obstacle of voting. The vote must be only given to the virtuous and educated who truly and fully understand the importance of this constitutional right, and in today's society the average sixteen year old does not exhibit these features.

2/7/2014
Washington/ NJ
Sagar
Mrs. Rokosny/ Warren Hills Regional High School
If this question was raised couple of centuries ago, my answer would have been different. However, teenager today should not be allowed to vote at the age of 16. 16-year-olds are not mature enough to vote; most of them cannot manage to graduate without getting pregnant or associating themselves with drugs and alcohol. In addition to this, most 16-year-olds do not work full-time; therefore, they should not be allowed to vote for a candidate that might endanger the economy. Teenagers are also likely to vote in favor of legalizing alcohol, tobacco, and lottery for minors, and legalizing marijuana. In conclusion, 16-year-olds should not be allowed to vote because it would be the best for the future of America.

2/7/2014
Washington/ New Jersey
Amanda
Mrs. Rokosny/ Warren Hills Regional High School
Expanding the voting age to sixteen year olds would not be a good idea because at that age most adolescents are still solely basing their political ideals with anything their guardians say. Also most teenagers are not in tune with political current events or aware of the countries state, whether it be economy or foreign affairs. At this age people are not mature enough to make such an important decision on their own.

2/7/2014
Oxford, NJ
Aubrey
Mrs. Rokosny/Warren Hills Regional High School
I don't believe 16-year-olds should be able to vote. I feel at 16 years old, students are still trying to figure out how to make decisions on their own. Not that 16 is that much younger than 18, I do believe 18 is an appropriate age to let people start voting. At 18, most people have been faced with choosing a college and deciding how they'll pay for college and their future. Turning 18 provides you with growing up and becoming an adult, and thus I believe you are ready to make an educated decision to vote. I think most 16-year olds don't have a true opinion on politics. They would rather vote for the same person their parent is voting for, or who their friends are voting for. I don't sincerely believe that all people who are 18 are ready to vote, but I definitely don't believe people are 16 should be able to vote either.

2/7/2014
Washington NJ
Spencer
Warren Hills Regional High School
i dont believe it is a viable option to lower the voting age because most younger adolescence are immature and would be unable to handle the responsibility of voting. they havent had the life experiences yet to have the proper perspective on life to make major voting decisions that can potentially change the course of the country.

2/7/2014
Washington/NJ
June
Rokosny/Warren Hills Regional High School
Collectively, sixteen years olds, easily influenced by fleeting trends and vapid internet phenomena, simply don't have the capacity to make an informed and reliable decision regarding something so significant. Additionally, a majority of 16 year olds still live at home, and will be largely unaffected by the changes that may accompany a new leader. Their vote will mean that the votes of those who truly need it will be less impactful. While allowing 16 year olds to vote will increase the number of voters, it will not increase the proportion of registered voters voting.

2/7/2014
Washington/New Jersey
Dahlia
Rokosny/Warren Hills
I do not believe that sixteen-year-olds should be allowed to vote. Still young, they are not very informed about politics. Though it could possibly increase voter turnout, there is a chance that it could also decrease it. Not all sixteen-year-olds are able to drive, and their parents may be too busy to drive them. I think that the voting age should remain at eighteen: it is an age when people are more mature, more informed about politics, and can make better decisions.

2/7/2014
Washington NJ
Sandhyaa
Mrs. Rokosny
I think that 16-year-olds don't have the perspective on life to vote. Most 16-year-old are too young to understand how politics play a vital part in their lives. At 18 years of age you are considered a adult and most 18 year old prepare for life out of high school meaning at 18 you are capable of participating in your government more importantly you have the privilege to.

2/7/2014
Washingotn/ NJ
Ryan
Rokosny/ Warren Hills
I do not believe that 16 year olds should have the right to vote. Myself at 16, I do not believe I was informed enough to form an accurate opinion on a candidate, and I am an AP History and Government student who watches debates, speeches, and is aware of our government's decisions. The average student would have even less of an idea about these candidates. Getting your permit to drive a car with parental supervision and voting in an election require two completely different maturity levels. All in all the average 16 year old does not have this maturity maturity level, some 18 year olds do not either, if anything raise it don't lower it.

2/7/2014
Port Murray/ NJ
Justin Watts
Rokosny/ Warrenhills
No 16 year olds should not be able to vote, how could 16 year old vote if they can not even be trusted to drive a motor vechical by themselfs how could they be trusted then to make a decision which could effect the whole world

2/7/2014
Washington, New Jersey
Sai
Mrs. Rokosny
Yes, 16 year olds should be allowed to vote. The more people that are allowed to vote the more democratic the nation will be. By the age of 16, many Americans are socially and politically aware enough to make their own choices.

2/7/2014
Hackettstown
Aldo Legénd
Mrs. Rokosny
16 isn't a monumental birthday here in New Jersey. You still can't drive by yourself, and you still needs parents permission to work. Age has a lot to do with maturity and some people don't agree. While this may or may not be true it could only be beneficiary to wait 2 more years to vote. Thats 2 years of social, scholarly, and political experiences.

2/3/2014
Watertown MA
Marianna
Rimas/Watertown High School
No they should not because half the 16 year olds in this generation do not know much about Politics.

2/3/2014
Watertown/Ma
chloe
Mr.Rimas
I think 16 year olds should not vote because they are too young. They don't know that much or have had that much experience with voting and politics. I think being 18 and voting is the right age to vote because you have had a little more experience.

1/27/2014
Sidney/MT
Ryan
Mr.Faulhaber SHS
I don't find that 16 year olds have enough knowledge to vote and aren't mature enough either.They probably wouldn't know what they are voting for.

1/27/2014
Sidney/Montana
Ethan
Mr. Faulhaber/Sidney High School
I don't find that 16 year olds know what they are voting for exactly when they do vote on big decisions such as judges or mayors. A lot of the time it just doesn't seem like 16 year old people would understand the specifics of voting.

1/27/2014
Sidney Montana
Kali Zadow
Mr. Faulhaber Sidney High School
I dont think that 16 year old should be allowed to vote because they may not know the importance of the election and who they are really voting for and they have an affect on the election too.

1/17/2014
Benson/ AZ
Andrew
Marv Sorenson/ Benson High School
I believe that at the age of sixteen kids shouldn't have the right to vote, because voting is a privilege of understanding the importance of voting. At the age of 16, kids are probably not educated or informed enough on how to or even who to vote for. Most of the time people probably don't even know who to vote for as a candidate, and usually choose someone from an outside influence, knowing politics has a majority insight of ones opinion, but should also have a background of knowledge to back it up. I believe it's not a good idea for 16 year old kids to vote.

1/17/2014
benson AZ
Kristopher
Marv Sorenson/ Benson high school
I believe that sixteen year old kids shouldn't be allowed to vote. I say this because i have seen, and met adults in their twenties that are not mature enough to make decisions of that caliber. As a young teen you still have things to learn before you make these decisions. It is a year where you can drive, and start getting a job, but its just that a beginning.

1/17/2014
Benson/AZ
Johnny
Mr. Sorenson/Benson High School
No, 16 year olds won't commit mostly, because they're leaving home, getting out into the world, and don't want to be bothered. I know this from living at home myself. And I'm 17! I think adults just make better choices in voting, and teens---like me---get distracted easily and usually skim through something rather than thinking hard about it like adults. I think that teens can vote, but they need to make informed deduction upon whom to vote for, firstly. Just like education for the incarcerated, education for young voters are funded by the taxpayers, but taxpayers get the benefits as teen voters consider the candidates beforehand. This is an important matter, not one that should be biased, like the comment in the left script, "[young voters] should not be allowed to dilute the ballots of older, more experienced voters." No, that's not the right way to look at this troubling situation, in my opinion. There are dumb adults that vote, too. Taking out an important demographic or disbanding their voting rights is stupid, therefore.

1/17/2014
Benson AZ
Carly
Marv Benson High School
I don't think the majority of 16 year olds in the united states have the maturity level or even the understanding of the government to be able to vote to the best of their knowledge. most would likely go with just who everyone else is voting for just to fit in with the crowd or simply because their friends did. I think if 16 year olds were to be allowed to vote then schools would need to have a class early enough in high school that students could learn about voting and government before they actually go to vote. most schools don't provide such a class until maybe senior year when students are 18 or will be turning 18. thinking back on when I was 16 I don't think I could've made the proper decision on who or what to vote for on my own. I know I would have ended up asking a parent which box to check. to me, that's not right. people should be able to vote on their own and if students are being burdened with this then they will most likely ask a parent or adult which way to vote or else the will follow what all their friends are doing. either way they don't really have a say because they are not properly educated. I would be for 16 year olds being able to vote only if the proper education and knowledge was provided to them. otherwise I would have to say no.

1/16/2014
Benson AZ
Rachael
Mr. Sorensen Benson High School
Voting is a privilege and a right that more people should participate in and understand than the numbers now. If we allowed younger students to take advantage of this opportunity, they will be able to expand their knowledge about our government and how it works earlier on in their lives. At 16, students are well enough educated to understand the importance of voting. What they might not be well enough educated about is how to vote or how to tell whom to vote for. This only encourages teachers to start classes on this very subject earlier. Most high school students don’t take such a class until they are already 18 or on the way to becoming so. By this time, they are already on the move of getting on with their lives so voting is not a major concern. This may contribute to the fact that not enough Americans take part in voting. If voting was encouraged and allowed at 16, it becomes a practical part of our lives. Therefore, with education and lower requirements we could raise the amount of citizens that make voting a part of their lives which in essence brings greater decision making in the long run.

1/16/2014
Benson, AZ
Sarah
Mr. Sorenson/ Benson High School
I don't think 16 years olds should be given the right to vote. I feel most of the time it would be people who know nothing about the candidates they're voting for, and they vote for them because of outside influence like their parents, friends, etc. Some 16 year olds have a lot of knowledge on politics, but I think the majority doesn't. It's not a good idea.

1/16/2014
Benson AZ
Katie B
Mr. Sorensen Benson High School
I don't think 16 year olds should be allowed to vote. In today's world kids just don't care. We have 18 year olds at our school that don't even care about voting. Very few 18 year olds are eligible to vote while still in school, and I believe thats a good thing. We are always going to have the influence of our parents, family, and environment on who we vote for and what we believe in. But if 16 year olds were allowed to vote they would also be influenced by their teacher. Which could change who they would normally vote for to what their teacher has taught them at that point in time. Teenagers do not have enough life experience to be able to vote on matters such as laws and taxes. We haven't learned enough about such matters. 16 year olds should not be alllowed to vote.

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