In order to understand why lowering the voting age would even be considered, it is necessary to examine why the 26th amendment was passed in the first place. The United States was in the throes of the Vietnam War and protests were underway throughout the nation. Draftees into the armed services were any male over the age of 18. There was a seeming dichotomy, however: these young men were allowed, even forced, to fight and die for their country, but they were unable to vote. The 14th Amendment only guaranteed the vote, in a roundabout way, to twenty-one year olds. The Congress attempted to right this wrong in 1970 by passing an extension to the 1965 Voting Rights Act that gave the vote to all persons 18 or older, in all elections, on all levels. On March 23, 1971, the Congress passed the text of the 26th Amendment, specifically setting a national voting age, in both state and national elections, to 18. In just 100 days, on July 1, 1971, the amendment was ratified. (Piven and Cloward 3-9).
The supporters of lowering the voting age to 16 are of course "piggy-backing" off of the basis for the 26th amendment. One supporter, Margot Adler, makes the comparison between fighting at age 18 to driving and other responsibilities given at 16, "16 year-olds can drive in most states; if they commit serious crimes, they are tried as adults. If they can be punished as adults, why don't they have the rights of adults? If they work, they are taxed,... [continues]
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