Teen Style: Teens involved in politics | SteamboatToday.com

Teen Style: Teens involved in politics

Lack of a vote doesn't mean young people can't express government opinions

Paula Ninger

— With the election looming, teens have been expressing their political beliefs more passionately than ever, with bumper stickers, clothing and even heated debates. However, does the inability to vote limit a teenager’s potential to express his or her feelings?

“I think it does limit it to an extent,” said Taylor Loomis, a 14-year-old freshman at Steamboat Springs High School. “I feel like my vote might make a difference, so it does limit my expression a little.”

Many teens are eager to vote and to have their opinions and voices heard. When we asked 22 teens whether they would vote if they could, with a raised hand meaning “yes,” only one girl didn’t raise her hand. But even though teens would like to be able to vote, some feel that they still are able to freely express who they are.

“There are so many open doors, and so few are closed,” said Blaise Holden, 17. “Teens can find so many other things to do, like helping with elections, caucuses and campaigning, that our inability to vote doesn’t limit our expression at all.”

Kelly Ernst, 15, agreed. “I think it limits your freedom of speech, not your freedom of expression. You can still find other ways to express yourself.”

In addition, teenagers always are questioning the fairness of the voting age.

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“I think the voting age falsely judges and categorizes people based on age and not maturity,” said Molly Parsons, 16. “But there is no other way to create this law; it can only be done by age.”

Countries such as Austria, Brazil, Cuba and Nicaragua, according to BBCNews.com, recently have lowered their legal voting age to 16. However, it’s hard to know whether the United States will follow suit.

Teenagers can stay politically active in many ways. They can help run and count ballots on Election Day, talk to others about the candidate they believe in, and even show their spirit through magnets or shirts. Simply staying involved in the political scene is a good way to express your beliefs.