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Old enough 

To the editor,

A recent article in Maclean's entitled "Stop Him Before He Votes" argued that "today's 18-year-olds are too immature to vote," and that the voting age should be raised. According to the article, because youth are now less likely to be employed and are more likely to be living at home, this warrants raising the voting age to 21. Giving 18-year-olds the right to vote entrusts them with an important responsibility mirroring the transition into adulthood. Taking this right away would be more of a placebo than a remedy.

My peers have the capacity to participate, and to disenfranchise them because they are stuck in a prolonged childhood is a poor argument. Welcome to the age of information, where kids grow up faster than ever, usually at speeds of more than 100Kb/s. Youth are flooded with information, and the rising popularity of television and the internet as a means to communicate political messages has made it easier for young voters to make an informed vote. Also, if you've ever watched Jay Leno's "Jaywalking" segment, political naivety does not exclude adults over 21.

Lower voter turnout is not a question of immaturity or naivety. In fact, many immature and naive adults go to the polls and make uniformed decisions. The fact remains that it is their right to do so. We must look at why young voters don't vote, not just take the vote away from them. Many youth have simply become disillusioned with politics, and have discredited voting as a means to effect change. And who could blame them?

Instead of getting in bed with the party their parents have supported for years by placing a sign on their front lawn, youth are getting things done outside of the political arena. We may not vote as much, but we are not apathetic; disdain for Canadian politicians and the current electoral system has created a generation of non-voters who would rather change the world by buying fair trade coffee than vote (of course we do much more than that). Youth voters have to be convinced that their vote is not going to waste, and it is not by raising the voting age that this will be accomplished.

If a Conservative government is elected, it will most likely form the youngest cabinet in recent history. In fact it was Conservative MP Rona Ambrose who retorted to Liberal minister Ken Dryden, "We don't need old white guys telling us what to do." Youth have changed drastically and now have more tools at their disposal than ever to bloom into well-informed and active participants in society. The potential is there, and it's about time that Canadian politics got some extensive plastic surgery. Raising the voting age to 21 will do little to reach that potential; in other words, this tummy tuck just won't do.

By Olivia Jarda,


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