In Ohio, the minimum age to do a number of things is age 18 including buying a house, buying a car, renting an apartment… and voting. One candidate for President wants to change that last one.
Vivek Ramaswamy, Republican presidential candidate and native of Cincinnati, has proposed changing the voting age from 18 to 25 through a constitutional amendment.
The next generation of Americans, he claimed, would once again feel a sense of civic responsibility.
The only exceptions to the rule would be anyone beyond the age of 18 who joins the military, works as a first responder, or passes a civics exam.
Others disagree. Grant Bagshaw who is president of the Rising Republicans of Greater Cincinnati, says “I just think that if someone is being able to be drafted in the military, they’re able to serve their country at the age of 18, and that they can be prosecuted as an adult in our court system, then I think they have a right to able to participate in our democracy.”
Although Ramaswamy is pointing out a genuine civic awareness problem, he says he doesn’t think raising the minimum age is the solution.
“If you’re taking away peoples’ ability to have influence over the government and the system that they are a part of, then they’re going to be less inclined to learn more about it,” says Bagshaw.
In America, 18 has been the required voting age since 1971. David Niven, a professor of political science at the University of Cincinnati, thinks it ought to stay that way. He claimed that the measure would simply be unconstitutional and would further restrict people’s ability to vote.
“It represents the idea that you just don’t get a vote,” Niven said. “That you’re not equal and you just don’t get a vote. It represents this idea of qualifying.”
For Bagshaw, a better solution to the issue than raising the minimum voting age would be to increase civic education for students.
He says, “I just think that it’s better served if we’re doing more civics classes, and I think that’s on local jurisdictions and on the state government to ensure that our teachers are teaching about our civics system and not in a completely biased way.”