The argument that youth “should not vote because they lack the ability to make informed and intelligent decisions is valid only if that standard is applied to all citizens.”9 But yet this standard is not applied to all citizens, only young people. “We do not deprive a senile person of this right, nor do we deprive any of the millions of alcoholics, neurotics, psychotics and assorted fanatics who live outside hospitals of it. We seldom ever prevent those who are hospitalized for mental illness from voting.” 10
Even beyond senile, neurotic, and psychotic adults, regular adults often do not meet the unrealistic standard opponents to youth voting propose. Turn on the Tonight Show one night and see the collection of adult buffoons who can’t tell Jay Leno who the vice-president is, or who have forgotten how many states are in this country. Yet these adults are happily given the right to vote. The fact is, intelligence or maturity is not the basis upon which the right to vote is granted, if that were the case all voters would need to pass a test before voting. Though “…under voting rights jurisprudence, literacy tests are highly suspect (and indeed are banned under federal law), and lack of education or information about election issues is not a basis for withholding the franchise.”11 Youth shouldn’t be held to a stricter standard than adults; lower the voting age.
Furthermore, even the federal government agrees that most youth have the necessary knowledge to vote. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. § 1971((c)) states that: “any person who has not been adjudged an incompetent and who has completed the sixth grade in [. . .] any State or territory, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico where instruction is carried on predominantly in the English language, possesses sufficient literacy, comprehension, and intelligence to vote in any election.” If a Sixth grade education is deemed adequate knowledge to vote, how can older youth be denied the right to vote?