Parents and students react to the possibility of a younger voting age

Voting at the Stayton Library

EUGENE, Ore. - Oregonians could vote on a new bill next year that would lower the voting age to 16.

Supporters say teens as young as 16 are affected by adult issues like taxes and gun control. In many cases, they can be tried as adults in court, and therefore should have a voice.

Today we went outside of South Eugene High to ask parents and students whether they think 16 year olds should be able to vote.

Some parents say most 16 year olds are too young to make informed voting decisions.

"I don't think that would be a good idea,” said Heidi Koch. “Everyone believes that a child is an adult at 18 but actually they're not developmentally grown until about 20 for girls and about 22 for boys."

"I don't think that kids that are 16 years old got enough knowledge to really vote and know what they're voting for,” said Dennis Ellison. “I think it should stay at 18."

We also spoke to students who had different opinions on the proposed bill.

"There are definitely students in this school who are really passionate about politics, and who have a voice that they really want to share, but just aren’t at the legal age level to do that,” said Katrina Baker, a student at South Eugene. “There's also an issue with kids who are at the legal age level who aren't necessarily as passionate."

"I feel like I just need to educate myself a little bit more about our government system,” said Garrett Mina, a student at South Eugene. “And how everything works because there is still a lot that i don't know and a lot that I need to figure out."

The students added that they feel that schools need to make sure students are informed about politics and current events so they will be better prepared to vote when they come of age.

If approved by voters, Oregon would be the first state to lower the voting age.

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