Spring in 2017, Korea is taking a new turn. Although Koreans are frustrated due to the confused situation toward Choi Soon-sil gate and the first impeachment in Korean history, Koreans realized many things. The biggest realization to Koreans might be the importance of voting. With the low voting rate, certain verification toward candidates are shed light upon. As much, many arguments related to voting are controversial nowadays. The most intense controversy is whether lowering the right to vote to 18 years old is appropriate or not. The voices of teenagers, who were part of the candlelight rallies, also should be heard in voting. Their actions are a mature boom as representatives of citizens and it has caused many people to feel the seriousness of this national emergency. Why does Korea block the way for anyone under 18 to vote?
People over 18, who are high school seniors if following the formal curriculum in Korea, are old enough to vote. There are three reasons why they should be allowed to vote in Korea. First, it is a global trend. Only Korea does not allow people who are 18 years old to vote among OECD countries. Even some developed countries, such as America and Germany, permit citizens over 18 to vote. Surprisingly, Koreans over 18 can marry, go to the military, and have driver’s licenses. However, the right to vote, which should be exerted if citizenship is acknowledged, is blocked. The world-famous downward trend in voting age shows the current of mature citizenship increasing.
Second, it can derive adolescents’ interest toward politics. In this timing with the government administration monopoly state of Park Geun-hye, youths asked to adults. No one could answer clearly the reason why they chose this person – who is insufficient to be president. It is a contradiction that young people cannot find the best candidate because of low age. If 18-year-old students start to have right to vote, more people will have interest toward politics. It was shown at candlelight rally sites. Korean adolescents can understand right citizenship and the way Korean politics should go. Especially, Korea records a very low rate of voting. Korean students should experience real site on the spot through voting. If it can be available, the phenomenon that members of the National Assembly, who may have gotten only a 30% approval rating from voters to organize the National Assembly as representatives of citizens, cannot appear anymore.
Third, looking-through insufficient situations such as the free ride program for senior citizens, policies and politics are related deeply in Korea. As some criticisms are that it is only a welfare service for seniors, the reason why politicians cannot remove this policy easily is that they want the seniors’ vote. Yet, they are afraid of seniors exercising their right to vote, not focusing on the effectiveness of policies. Koreans are ahead on presidential election of rose. This topic is deeply related to this reason. Political circles, who do not want to rub citizens’ fur the wrong way, do not make this topic a controversial issue. They are calculating their profits thoroughly. However, the right to vote is a natural thing that citizens over 18 should have in democratic countries. Therefore, anyone over 18 should be able to vote and it finally can come out for educating about the importance of voting and increasing interest toward politics. In the long run, a more developed Korea as a democracy can appear in the close future.
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