Why Can't I Vote?

VotingBecause you're not 18 yet. I get the same answer everywhere I go. The truth is I know more about the upcoming elections than probably 90% of the adults that I know who are voting. And it's not just me.

Students all over my high school are talking about the elections. There are students who know who George W. Bush's running mate is. There are students who know what Al Gore's plan for health care is. Students who know who Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan are and what they stand for. All will go unheard this November.

Now I have taken my SAT's, gotten a drivers license and applied to colleges, but three daunting months separate my 18th birthday and this election. The next president will take office after I am 18 and the first four years of my adulthood will take place under a President that I did not help choose.

Many adults would admit that youth have as much time and energy to participate in electing government officials as they do. My mother even straight up said, "Look through this voters pamphlet and circle the one's who you think I should vote for because I don't have the time." Last election my friend's dad voted for his twelve year old son as a write in. When I asked adults what influenced their vote some said they vote for "the one who looks smarter." Looks smarter!?

Anyone should be able to vote for president if it affects their life after they turn 18. But, instead now I must watch many clueless adults walk up to the polls to cast their votes and all I can do is just sit and wait, four more years.

Andrew Austin is a 17-year-old from Mill Creek, Washington.

What do you think? Should youth under 18 be able to vote? Go to our message boards to respond to Andrew's comments.

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