It’s time for teen suffrage


art by Ellie Stitzer

American colonists in the 1700s had no say in their motherland’s parliament. Laws they did not like were imposed on them, and they were pushed into wars they did not wish to enter.staff ed jan
As a result, they were taxed heavily, again with no say. The colonists became fed up with their government and formed a revolt which formed the great nation of America.
No taxation without representation became their cry. Now, more than 200 years later, it must become ours.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 51.9 percent of people age 16 to 24 had a job and paid income tax in 2014. We drive, have car insurance and earn an income. We are going to school and bettering ourselves for the future of this nation.
The amount of money we bring into the economy, from the cost of our cars to the clothes we buy with our hard-earned money to the amount of goods we sell in our jobs, shows we are fully functioning and contributing citizens of this nation.
Those taxes we pay should give us the right to decide how the taxes are used. The only way we can do that is by having the power to vote. When we are 16 and 17, we are likely living with our parents and getting ready to go to college to live on our own for the first time in our lives.
Either we should be allowed to vote or our right to work should be removed. Both cannot justly exist simultaneously. The government cannot and should not tax a large group of citizens without giving them the power to vote.

art by Ellie Stitzer
art by Ellie Stitzer
The biggest argument given by skeptics is 16- and 17-year-olds should not be able to vote because we would be influenced by our parents too much when we go to the polls. In complete honesty, this argument makes no logical sense. This would definitely be true if we allowed 10 year olds to vote because they have never taken any government classes or actual history classes, but 16- and 17-year-olds are as much adults as their parents are.
By the age of 16, essentially every student who attends public school in Missouri has taken a government class, multiple American history classes and a required Personal Finance class. Our political views are almost certainly solidified, whether moderate, left-leaning or right-leaning.
We have our own opinions on many subjects and have almost finished high school. Half of us have a job and pay our own taxes.
There will certainly be some of us who don’t care about politics and don’t vote, but that shouldn’t make a difference. More than 100 million people voted in the last presidential election. While that is a lot of people, almost 210 million eligible voters live in America, and there are certainly more voting-age people in America than those who cast a ballot in 2012.
Many voting-age citizens simply don’t care enough to vote or have other circumstances that prevent them from voting.
The same would be true for 16-and 17-year-olds. We are not forced to vote, but we will have that option available if we chose to do so.
A bill in the Missouri Congress, proposed by State Representative Karla May, would give everyone age 16 and up a voice in their government and their world. It is good for Missouri, and it will be a good precedent for other states to eventually change their age, as well.
In order for this bill to pass, it would need sufficient votes in the Missouri Congress. Everyone should contact their district representatives and convince them that this effort is productive and is needed for the future of this great nation.
No taxation without representation must become our generation’s cry.