CINCINNATI— Eighteen is the legal age for many things in Ohio, like renting an apartment, buying a car and voting. But one presidential candidate is looking to change the age of participating at the polls.
Cincinnati native and Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy is proposing a constitutional amendment to raise the current voting age from 18 to 25.
He said it would restore civic duty in the mindset of the next generation of Americans. The exceptions to the rule would be anyone above 18 who serves in the military, becomes a first responder or passes a civics test.
“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,” said Grant Bagshaw, president of the Rising Republicans of Greater Cincinnati.
The 24-year-old Republican said although Ramaswamy is identifying a real issue of civic awareness, he doesn’t believe raising the minimum age is the answer.
“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,” he said.
The minimum age of voting in America has been 18 since 1971. University of Cincinnati Political Science Professor David Niven believes it should be kept that way. He said the proposal would just be unconstitutional and would only limit more people from their right to vote.
“It represents the idea that you just don’t get a vote,” he said. “That you’re not equal and you just don’t get a vote. It represents this idea of qualifying.”
As for Bagshaw, he believes more civic education for students would be a better solution to the problem than raising the minimum voting age.
“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,” he said.