Early this year, citizens throughout the nation gathered continuously at Gwanghwamun to rally for President Park Geun-hye’s impeachment and arrest. Because of the scandals that shock the nation, more people than ever have become interested in politics and want to show this interest by participating in the upcoming election. There are also increased numbers of young people wishing to employ their right to vote on May 9th. These young adults claim they have the ability to distinguish right from wrong politically and want their voice heard. The topic of reducing the voting age has been met with both cheer and disapproval. To further discuss the issue, SMT asked two Sookmyungians to share their thoughts.
The Right to Vote Should Be Altered to Include 18 year olds
These days, there is much talk about reducing the voter age requirement. Because of the numerous political misfortunes over the past few years in Korea, people are becoming more and more interested in politics and their knowledge of political campaigns and processes have widened and increased. People are both interested in and making an effort to create a better society. There is an increasing number of people arguing for the lower of the voter age to 18. These people believe this age to be appropriate age in which an individual has the ability to make concerned and informed decisions. However, there are still many people in society who feel the age restriction should not be altered. Despite arguments against changing the voter age limit, I agree with lower the age.
First, youths with the right to vote are better informed on issues like education and will be more active members of society. Nowadays, it is the youths of society that are raising issues and trying their best to resolve problems. The best example of this is the masses of young people participating in the Gwanghwamun candle rallies and insisting on President Park’s impeachment.
Second, unlike other OECD nations whose voting age is 18, only Korea sets the limit at 19 years of age. Austria’s voting age is 16. Korea is an OECD country and one of the most developed nations in the world, so it is reasonable to expect the voting age to be 18. Also, Korea is known for its educated population, so I believe Korean youth at 18 years old are able to make appropriate and rational political choices.
Finally, at the age of 18 in Korea, youths are given all rights and duties expected of them as citizens except the right to vote. At 18, youths should be allowed all rights given to all other mature citizens in the nation, and this policy should be enacted quickly as the federal election is approaching quickly. Personally, I have a lot of friends whose birthday will not yet have passed when the election is held on May 9th, and as a result, they cannot exercise their right to be a part of the voting for their nation’s leader. For these reasons, I agree that the election age limit should be modified to be 18. Young people need to vote as informed and responsible citizens.
Many countries throughout the world are exercising their right to vote. It is one of the most important rights a human has as a member of society. People all over the world are demanding the right to vote and their voice must be ensured in their nation. Like other nations, Koreans are jumping on the trend to argue the need to lower the voter age to 18. However, I disagree with modifying the voter age limit to 18 for three reasons.
First, minors are too young to make informed decisions on candidates and their campaign promises. In Korea, the only goal teens in high school keep in mind is the idea of going to university, and they study extremely hard and for long hours to achieve that goal. They do not have the time or energy to learn or follow political platforms. It is also most likely they have never considered where their political beliefs reside.
Therefore, these younger individuals will be easily swayed to follow others. Second, high school students have no time for issues other than school work in Korea. Compared to teenagers in other countries, most Korean students spend all their time in school or at educational institutes. Even if they are given the right to vote, they will likely not heed much effort into the important right. Third, minors are still heavily influenced by their parents. Unlike a teenager, a parent will have already made a decision on which party they will support, and they may expect their child to follow them. While a number of countries have altered their voter age, Korea is not ready for such a move. Korean students at the age of 18 are not politically knowledgeable, nor do they have the genuine interest to learn about the political parties and their platforms before voting. Consequently, because of minors’ immaturity, I disagree with changing the voter age to 18 years old.