“Just wondering if you’d be interested in tagging along to the statehouse on April 13th to attend he Joint Committee on Election Laws’ public hearing on the teen-led initiative to Lower the Voting Age to 17 in Lowell’s muni elections.”
Above is a message I received from a proponent of lowering the voting age to 17 for Lowell city elections. I can’t make it to the State House for the Public Hearing, but I do endorse the proposal. I do that for practical reasons.
For most of us, voting is a habit that’s passed down from generation to generation. If your parents made voting a priority, then it’s likely that you will make voting a priority. But what of the many kids whose parents don’t vote. How are they likely to become engaged in the electoral process? Through peer pressure. If their friends make voting a priority, they’ll make voting a priority, as well.
Right now, 18 year olds have the vote, but by the time the Fall city election rolls around, many new 18 year olds are off to college or at least scattered from most of their friends from high school and the neighborhood. But 17 year olds are most likely seniors in high school where peer pressure is at its maximum. A small group of motivated kids could potentially incite a substantial number of their classmates to vote. And when you’ve voted once, you’re more likely to do it again and soon it becomes a habit. That’s why I support this proposal.