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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Keep voting age at 18

For many young Americans, turning 18 means finally being able to vote and having a chance to change the country they live in. Millennial GOP candidate, Vivek Ramaswamy, wants to strip 18 to 24yearolds of their right to vote by raising the voting age to 25. This is not only completely averse to the founding principles of the United States but also clearly meant to disenfranchise young, and majority liberal, voters.

Ramaswamy wants to instate a constitutional amendment that would raise the voting age to 25 and only allow younger people to vote if they serve in the military for six months, do a civil service or pass the same civics test that immigrants looking to be naturalized take. It seems that Ramaswamy believes that by completing these requirements citizens would have more pride in their country. 

Instating this as a new constitutional amendment would mean repealing the 26th amendment which lowered the voting age from 21 to 18 in 1971. Not only is repealing a constitutional amendment already in place difficult but instating a new amendment requires ratification from three-fourths of the state legislatures.

Ramaswamy cites that only 16% of Generation Z are proud to be American. He’s right, this statistic is concerning but this says less about Gen Z and much more about the state of politics in the U.S. 

Gen Z’s have lower trust in the government than past generations. Growing up during the pandemic, social unrest and the climate crisis explains why young people may not be proud of their country. Ramaswamy believes that raising the voting age will somehow restore Generation Z’s American pride. In fact it would likely only do the complete opposite. 

One of the founding principles of the United States is the belief of no taxation without representation. Most Americans are taught that in elementary school. Everyone above 18 is a legal adult who pays taxes, not just those over 25. This is a direct violation of young people’s constitutional right to vote and be represented in the political sphere.

While Ramaswamy says that his motivation for raising the voting age is to make young Americans proud of their country, it’s clear that what it’s really about is suppressing a generation that is increasingly growing more liberal. By not allowing young people to vote unless they’ve completed certain requirements, Ramaswamy is clearly trying to reduce voting targeting young people. Who wants to be proud of a country that actively encourages voter suppression?

Generation Z has been shown to have a more liberal view on political issues. In a study by Pew Research a majority believe that increased diversity and marriage equality is good for society. A majority also say that forms should offer gender options outside of the binary, that financial responsibility should be shared between parents and that they are comfortable calling others by gender neutral pronouns.

Just last spring young people came out in droves to elect the liberal Judge Janet Protasiewicz to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. College students all around the state cast their ballots at record-breaking turn out levels. Clearly many young people are taking a more humanistic approach to policy.

This is to say that much of Gen Z does not align with Republican social policy. Clearly Ramaswamy is scared that he and other Republicans will not receive support from the next generation. One might think that he would take this as a sign to appeal to younger voters but no, he wants to take away their right to vote. 

It should also be noted that Ramaswamy is drawing a connection between someone’s pride in their country and their right to vote. There’s plenty of people who are not or will not be proud of their country past the age of 25. Are they not entitled to vote either?

While it’s unlikely that Ramaswamy and his supporters will ever be able to get their appeal to raise the voting age past Congress, fact that they are so blatantly trying to suppress young voters should scare everyone. This type of active voter suppression cannot be seen as normal by citizens.

This column was written by Kirsten Lyons. She can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Kirsten Lyons, Assistant Opinions Editor
Kirsten Lyons is a sophomore from St. Paul, Minnesota studying journalism and peace studies and is the Assistant Opinions Editor at the Marquette Wire for the 2023-2024 school year. Outside of the Wire she enjoys knitting, reading and trying out new recipes. She is excited to grow as a journalist at the Wire and help others do the same.

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