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Should state lawmakers restrict your 26th Amendment right?

In the late ’60s and early ’70s, young people like yourself campaigned for the right to vote.

They argued that if the government could call on them at age 18 to serve in the military – to fight and possibly die for their country – then they had the maturity to participate in their government’s democratic process.

Now, lawmakers in some states are arguing the exact opposite: Young people are too immature and should have their voting rights restricted.

The voting age was lowered to 18 with the passage of the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1972. Some states even have laws allowing 17-year-olds to vote in primary elections if they will be 18 by the general election.
A bill being debated in the New Hampshire legislature would prohibit college students from voting in their college town – unless they or their parents were permanent residents there. According to a Washington Post report, the bill’s sponsor, State Rep. Gregory Sorg, said in a speech that year-round residents in small towns are having their votes “diluted or entirely canceled by those of a huge, largely monolithic demographic group . . . composed of people with a dearth of experience and a plethora of the easy self-confidence that only ignorance and inexperience can produce.”

Rep. Sorg’s views are shared by the state’s Speaker of the House, Rep. William O’Brien, who called young voters “foolish” and said students lacked “life experience” and “just vote their feelings.”

A second bill being considered in New Hampshire seeks to outlaw Election Day registration; according to the Post, O’Brien feels the practice “unleashes swarms of students on polling places, creating opportunities for fraud.”

For all the ire heard from the bills’ opponents, these proposals would not take away young people’s voting rights outright. They would just have to travel home to vote – or get an absentee ballot – and make sure they were registered well in advance of an election. (Which isn’t unusual – many states do not have Election Day registration, and instead set a registration deadline, usually about a month before each election.)

A bill in Wisconsin also targets college-age voters, but could prove to be more restrictive. It’s a spin on a voter ID law that would not allow voters to use school-issued student ID cards at their local polling place. The proposed law would allow driver’s licenses and passports as valid forms of ID, but opponents say that students who do not drive and do not have a passport would be unfairly disenfranchised. In Wisconsin, lawmakers cite worries about voter fraud as a reason to make voting rules stricter. But critics feel the law is a transparent attempt to suppress voters who might vote against the Republican Party in power. Sam Polstein, a University of Wisconsin sophomore interviewed by the Post, said, “It's no coincidence that some of the groups being targeted and that would be most affected by the bill are more Democratic generally.”

Young Republicans agree, but they don’t favor the bill. The Post interviewed Richard Sunderland III, head of the College Republicans at Dartmouth College, who said the law “doesn’t help if the Republican Party wants to try to win over people in the 18-to-24 age range.”

What do you think?

Should state lawmakers impose voting restrictions on college-age students? Is it fair to make students vote in their hometown, rather than their college town? How about the voter ID law? Should Wisconsin accept student IDs as a valid form of identification for voting? Join the discussion!
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Comments
3/12/2015
Warminster, PA
Mr. Firmani
Archbishop Wood
No state should make voting harder on those who are eligible to vote. If the 26th Amendment allows 18 year old American citizens to vote then make it as easy as possible for them to cast their ballot. The 18-25 age group has the lowest voter turnout rate; therefore we should be encouraging them to vote. Do not get me wrong, if they do not meet voting requirements i.e. not registered, then NO they shouldn't be able to vote.

3/7/2014
NY
Jamez
BHCS
I love seeing anyone have more and equal rights, but I am able to vote and I still will say I don't know half of what im doing to help with my vote. Don't get me wrong a younger person may know more than me, but how many of them will? Can only a couple intellectual minds account for the whole age group? I don't think so.

1/7/2014
Tulsa/Union
Elijah
Turner/Union
When this amendment was passed, the US was at war. The draft was in effect. The drafting age was at 18 and the populace was asking why these teenagers(18) were giving their lives and none of them were able to express their views. The way that you express your views in America is usually through voting. So eventually, congress passed this law that so the min. age could not be raised. Teenagers nowadays are not being drafted into the military. They are too busy playing video games and getting high. If the majority of people at 16 waist their lives as of now, what makes you think that they will change when they are given the responsibility of voting?

2/6/2013
Ohio
Meg
Davidson
I am usually one to support youth rights. However, in this case, I simply don't think that the majority of young people, including myself, have the ability to make a decision without being influenced by their family and peers. Just in my school, I have many classmates who clearly form opinions that mirror those of their parents; and when they are asked to support their opinion, they have little to no reliable evidence or facts to present. People my age just haven't experienced enough of the world do be able to decide how it should be governed.

10/16/2012
CT
Mikayla
Galante
I do not think that the government should impose voting restrictions on college-aged students. At the age of 18, a person is considered an "adult." Although not everyone reaches the same stage of maturity at that age, they are believed to have transferred into adulthood. At this age, many people go off to college, where they are taught to take care of themselves without the help of a parent/guardian. An even higher sense of maturity is reached at this point in a persons life. College students become more independent and learn to rely on themselves in order to become success and to live a good life. Ultimately, people in their late teens are more mature in college than in high school, which is probably another reason why the voting age is 18 instead of 15, for example. College, for the most part, makes its students more mature; this maturity is enough to allow them to be able to vote what they believe. They have been able to grow enough as a person and become independent in a way that will allow them to vote in an educated manner, not a childish manner like it is stereotyped.

10/15/2012
Ledyard
Ally
Mr. Galante
If a student is taking the time to vote, regardless of location, their vote needs to be recognized. As long as each voting site proceeds to take the precautions of making sure each individual isn't being represented more than once, their vote needs to count.

10/13/2012
CT
Julianna
Galante
I do not think that lawmakers should restrict the rights in the 26th amendment for several reasons. One is that we already have a large problem in this country with people not utilizing their right to vote and by telling young people that they cannot vote, we would just be adding to this national voting problem. Also, there is a widely held idea that teenagers are to immature to vote and I do not think that this is completely true. Many of the times adults’ judgments are made about teenagers from adults who just always view them as being immature. However, many teenagers are quite mature and uphold jobs and very involved in society. Also many teenagers serve in the military, which requires maturity. Due to these two ideas, I believe that a teenager being too immature to vote is just not a valid concern.

10/12/2012
Ledyard/CT
Debbie
Galente/Ledyard
Very few times in the history of the United States has the constitution ever been amended. Each time it was based upon the need of the American people, even prohibition (the only amendment ever to restrict the rights of the American people) was passed and accepted because the people believed it could help. Never before in the history of the United States has a law, with as much impact as this would have, been passed on stereotypes. If all stereotypes are considered in law-making then should all blondes instantly be put into homes for their security because they are ‘too dumb’ to make decisions for themselves? Should African Americans be put into jail because they are ‘gangsters’? Should all Asians be restricted from getting their drivers license because they are ‘terrible drivers’? No. Yes, there are some people of each of these groups that ‘fit’ their stereotypes, but none of these are true for the entire population. Just like with teens. I myself am a teenager and for the most part I would consider myself to be ‘mature’. I know what I believe in and what I stand for. William O’Brien said that teenagers, “Just vote their feelings,” to that I pose the question, isn’t that what each citizen should do? Or would O’Brien rather have us vote for his feelings? The purpose of a vote is so that the feelings and desires of each American’s voice can be heard. By enacting a law to restrict our right to vote our liberties are being restricted, our voices are left unheard and our inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness is being taken away from us. Those who support this law are creating the beginning of a communist society, our rights, our say in what goes on in this country are slowly being taken away. And so in order to create a more perfect union I raise my voice against this atrocious law.

5/11/2012
Porterville, CA
John
Smith/Monache
I must contest the idea that teenagers are immature. Teenagers are not immature; they are just treated immaturely by adults, leading them to live up only to the stereotype that has been placed upon them. Teenagers are in fact just as intelligent and just as good of decision-makers as adults, as several studies have shown that their performance in an adult environment has rivaled that of the adults themselves. Teenagers aren't stupid, and they aren't immature, they just place higher value in enjoyment and success. This drives them to take more risks and this risk-taking nature actually proves to help more than it hurts. This is why I believe teens even younger than 18 years old should be granted the full rights of an adult, seeing as there is no distinction between adults and teens involving maturity.

3/6/2012
philadelphia/PA
john
Widener
no because people that are us residents all have the right to vote we already have a problem in this country about people not voting because they think there vote doesn't count so lawmakers shouldn't add to it

3/6/2012
phila pa
Breeana
Ms. Hill/ Widener
I don't think it's fair for the government to make collage students go back to their home towns just to vote. If students can get to a voting booth near the collage they go to, they should be allowed to vote there.

3/6/2012
phila pa
Breeana
Ms. Hill/ Widener
I don't think it's fair for the government to make collage students go back to their home towns just to vote. If students can get to a voting booth near the collage they go to, they should be allowed to vote there.

3/5/2012
phila pa
danielle
widener
No because college students should be able to make to their own decisions no i do not think it is fair for college students to go back to their hometown to vote they should be able to vote regardless or their hometown or college town requirements. I think they should accept student identification or any identification of that matter because that id will prove their age

3/5/2012
phila pa
Vernon R.
ms.hill Widener
i belive that college students should be able to vote. Because when you are of the college age it seems to the world that your smart nough to make your own decisions so there right to vote should not be taken away whether they want to vote or not

3/2/2012
phila pa
danielle, vernon breeana
Ms.hill Widener
no college age students should not be restricted to vote because they are of age to make their own decisions. if your in college what would be the point of traveling all the way back to hometown to vote. yes i think wisconsin should accept the voter identification law because that is the only they can vote.

3/2/2012
philadelphia PA
jeff bruno
widener Memorial
I believe that nobody's rights should be restricted. The 26th amendment clearly states that citizens have the right to vote at age 18. It would be unconstitutional to abridge that right.

3/2/2012
Philadelphia/PA
Richard
Mrs. hill/Widner Memorial
I feel that the people should be able to vote at a younger age. I think that the age should start at 14 for voting.

5/4/2011
Sidney, MT
Brooke B
Sidney High School
I think that the state lawmakers should not be able to take our rights away. If the students can sign up for the military when they are 18 then students should be able to vote. When teens turn 18 they are legally an adult and that includes the right to vote. Students out of high school study the government and know what is going on in the world.

4/21/2011
Sidney/MT
Rihana
Sidney High School
I don't think the state lawmakers should be able to restrict our voting rights. Students right out of high school and in college know more about what is going on in our government than most older people do. The issues that are being brought up are going to have more of an impact on students than on the older people voting.

4/17/2011
Irving, TX
Mauricio N.
Bradley/ Nimitz High School
The 18-24 age group is in the military, college, or in a job typical of an adult society. This group is also responsible when it comes to obeying the law and can be charged with felonies and misdemeanors as well. This is far from immature. There is absolutely no reason why we should hold voting restrictions for this age group and not the rest of the people who vote on elections. This is age discrimination. New Hampshire should let the students vote in their college area since they reside there. Voter ID's and student ID's would not affect elections and will not be biased towards any party running for office.

4/16/2011
Irving/TX
David B
Bradley/Nimitz High School
Imposing voter restrictions is outrageous. If the government didn’t want young people to vote they wouldn’t have passed the 26th amendment stating that they can vote. And it doesn’t say anything about being in your hometown or with parental supervision. I do agree with voter ID laws where you would have to have a picture ID to vote. Due to numerous reports of how illegal’s voting on behalf of other people, this makes sense. I mean if they don’t want to pay taxes for the government to have money, why would they want to decide who does what in the White House.

4/15/2011
Irving/Texas
Aaron M
Bradley/Nimitz
I think that everyone over the age of 18, so long as they are a resident, has the right to vote. As to where they can vote, I think that it doesn't matter, a vote is a vote where ever you are. It would be easier if the student could vote in their current residence rather than their hometown but that decision should be decided by the state; it is neither fair or unfair for the student. If it has your picture, name among other information, it is a valid ID. College students with ID's from the school should be able to vote. If I didn't have a drivers license, I would still want to vote; in other words Wisconsin should accept all forms of valid IDs whether school issued or state issued.

4/14/2011
Irving/Tx
Katy P.
Bradley/Nimitz
It is strictly biased of lawmakers to try and restrict voting rights for college students. I believe it is very important to incorporate young voters in order for them to be involved when they become older. If younger people are not allowed to vote, more than likely they will not vote when they are older due to the lack of participation in the past. It is also important to maintain a younger crowd, because once the older generations disappear, where are the politicians votes going to come from? There are several aspects to which the law makers are not paying attention. It is important for the voice of the younger generations to be heard!

3/31/2011
irving/TX
Hector G.
Bradley/Nimitz
Setting voter restricitons for college students is incredibly biased and establishes a mindset that college students are ignorant and shouldn't have the responsibility to vote. There already seems to be a challenge getting younger citizens to vote, so why set rules to restrict them from voting only based on stereotypes. Everyone who votes, votes for their best interest and votes for who will best represent them; this is a fact that spreads across the board, no matter your race, gender or age. Citizens now, seem to vote on political preference than an actual candidate's ideals; which would be a better thing to set restrictions on but would hardly be easy, this does seem to be a result of the Republican party not wanting to lose power. To say that college students are immature because they vote on their feelings is really ignorant and misleading, students know a great deal about current events and politics as a result of their curriculum and news outlets that are available to them now and will vote accordingly. Voting in one's own hometown may be beneficial to the voter because they would know what the representatives could do there and would probably be much more well informed than in their college town. I agree with the voter id law, without proper identification ballots could lead to fraud and a faulty election.

3/27/2011
Irving/TX
Dennis N.
Bradley/Nimitz
Any doing of imposing voting restriction is pronounced unconstitutional in my book and doing so would anger a numerous of students that are greatly connected to politics and voting. Why punish everyone if only a few are causing the problem? However I do agree that students should only vote in their hometown rather than their college town because it is a high possibly that they are not going to live there unless they have a family member that is a resident of the town. The voter ID law seems like the right thing to do but what if the person does not drive or have a passport like it is said in the article; then they cannot vote? I see what they are trying to do but there needs to be a better way to be more strict on voting.

3/23/2011
Irving/Tx
Demi S
Bradley/Nimitz
With getting citizens to vote being a major challenge, imposing voting restrictions on college-aged students will only decrease the amount of votes, which will in turn lead to inadequate representation of the population. Not only is this wrong, it is highly unconstitutional. In contrast to what State Rep. Gregory Sorg said about small towns having their votes “diluted” by young people, it so happens that the young “inexperienced” college students may not be so ignorant after all. One of the required courses in college happens to be Government, leading them to possibly be some of the most informed and educated voters that take part in elections. It is also unjust to pose restrictions on the basis of college-aged voters being immature because there are many older voters who have long forgotten all their teachings and are guilty of voting immaturely as well. Furthermore, I think the writers of the Constitution- the most experienced and educated- wrote everything the way they did with good intentions and it should be left that way because it works.

3/22/2011
Irving/Tx
Baldemar M.
Bradley/Nimitz
Young voters barely vote at present time but in the near future that might change. If the government takes the rights of the young what is to say that the elderly are not foolish themselves for we are all not perfect. If any one would go around a room filled with hundreds of people we will find out we are all foolish nut just the young and some of the young are some times wiser than the elderly. Nether would the elderly like to have their right taken from them so know I ask why? If our government keeps functioning well even with fools. Our young grow older and more wise by their decision we let them make; if that is taken away from them we might end up a more ignorant country with ignorant voters who do not have much experience with voting. The young must learned from their mistakes to become better; many elderly parents know this, for that is a way maturity develops within a person. The government is also not doing its job properly if there are many frauds. The republican party should also learn that they will never decrease the power of peoples voting rights and they keep acting like children to turn electoral votes to their favor. All the children in the United States should play fair.

3/21/2011
Irving/Tx
Richard L
Bradley/Nimitz
We all live in a world that is imperfect and no matter how hard we try; there are always going to be issues and problems. Therefore, the 26th amendment should stay like it is. Why should lawmakers impose voting restrictions to college-age students when these college-age students have a fresh mind of education, while the adults have long forgotten? However, I believe that the college-age students should not vote in their college town unless they have a family that is a residence there because these college-age students likely won't live there for more than four years unless they are taking graduate school or repeating a grade. This is why Wisconsin does not accept student ID because it does n

3/19/2011
Irving, TX
Bailey M
Bradley/ Nimitz High School
I agree that a college student from California should not vote on local decisions in Texas just because they go to school there. Instead that college student should vote on the things that effect their hometown in California. It is fair for the college town, because the college town doesn't want a rush of college students voting for things that are not that important to them such as elementary schools in the area. Also it is fair for the students hometown, because the student can put their input into things that directly effect their family like not allowing the sell of alcohol in the town.

3/11/2011
Irving/ Texas
Josh A.
Bradley/ Nimitz
I have to say that suppressing any demographic in terms of voting is unconstitutional. Suppressing young college student voters for being spontaneous and foolish in their voting is just as bad as suppressing senior citizens for championing outdated mindsets. Even though they are not taking away the right for college students to vote outright, it is still infringing upon their rights. For example, would it be acceptable to not allow the previously mentioned senior citizens to vote if they are on vacation. Honestly, if this law is passed, who knows what kind of restrictions on voting could be passed in the future. We should not start now.

3/11/2011
Irving/TX
Josh J
Bradley/Nimitz
O'Brien says that people who are able to vote at the young age are foolish and would just vote on their feelings, but in fact, most people at that age have just finished studying government and would actually have more knowledge on the issues at hand than most of the other voters. If people are focusing on how educated you are to vote and rely on everyone knowing exactly what they are voting for, then everyone should be restricted on voting altogether. I do, believe that you should at least carry a proof of age in order to vote. If the United States has been able to keep this into effect since the 60s, then why not keep it the same when the 60s come again?

3/10/2011
Greencastle
Rex
Greencastle-Antrim High School
I agree with New Hampshire in outlawing Election Day registration. If you truly wanted to vote you would have registered much earlier than Election Day. However, I disagree with imposing harsh restrictions on college-age students. It is and is not fair to require students to vote in their hometown rather than their college town. Some state laws and proposed bills can affect college students however some laws and bills do not affect them. It is a tricky situation. Placing restrictions on adult voters regardless of whether they are college-age students or long time citizens of more than 30 years can lead to violation of our basic rights.

3/10/2011
Greencastle,Pa
Zach r.
Greencastle-Antrim highschool
I believe that the right to vote should be restricted a little more however in the ways they want to restrict it is a little harsh. I think that they should ban Election Day registration and require a valid driver’s license. However, this would cause problems because some people do not drive. I think they should still allow the use of school identification as long as it can be verified. According to www.yda.org/resources/youth-vote-statistics/ 47% of people between the ages of 18 and 28 voting politicians have labeled us as generation y. I believe that the youth of this country should have a say in who we have running this country.

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