Written by Young Yu (Attorney-at-Law admitted in New Jersey, USA)
The argument about lowering the voting age from 19 to 18 is hot ahead of the presidential election in Korea.In many countries around the world, the voting age is typically set at 18 years old. Especially in the United States, twenty-one states permit 17-year-olds to vote in primary elections
and caucuses if they will be 18 years old by Election Day. In 2013, the City of Takoma Park in theState of Maryland
became the first place in the United States to lower its voting age to 16 years old for municipal elections and referendums.
In the United States, the debate about the voting age started with the Vietnam War. During the Vietnam War
, most of those subjected to the draft were too young to vote, and the image of young people being forced to risk their lives in the military without the privileges of voting successfully pressured many legislators to lower the voting agenationally.
In Korea, when you turn 18, you have the duty of military service, taxation, and labor. Although you need to get your parents’ consent, you can marry too at that age. That is, 18-year-olds are legally considered as a grown-up in many occasions. Then why not in voting? I believe 18-year-olds are mature enough to make important decisions about their own futures. Then why can’t they have their voice in deciding the future of theircountry,which significantly affectstheir lives and futures.
Also 18-year-olds have been educated for at least 11-12 years, and many of them have some experiences of work as well as school. They can become informed enough,especially thanks to the internet and they can fully express their informed opinions the same as those who are older than them do. Theirexperiences, althoughtheymight not be so immense, their knowledge, although it might not be so deep, and their information, although it might not be so profound, can allow them to form a political view and they should be allowed to put these across at election time.
Democracy means that the government represents “everybody.”Also, it is important to include as wide a range of opinion as possible in a political process to get the best politicaldecision for all. Therefore,it is definitely better to involve as many people as possible in the political process in principle.
I believe 18-year-olds are mature enough, and we should trust them with the responsibility to make up their minds just as much as every other citizen, not only for them but also for democracy.< 저작권자 © 중앙헤럴드 무단전재 및 재배포금지 >