Lowering The Voting Age

Should voting be open to Singaporeans aged 18 and above instead of 21?

If you’re able to purchase tobacco and alcohol, trade in shares and get a drivers license all at the age of 18 should you thus be given the right to cast a vote for your government? That’s a consideration that was recently raised in an article in the Straits Times.

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As with everything there are pros and cons to lowering the age of voters. As stated in the article, it encourages youths to be involved in the political scene and to lend a voice to speak for issues that affect them. It also gives the government an insight into what Singaporean youth and a bigger share of the population want as a whole. It could help the government draft future policies based on their assessment of the youth voters and their concerns.

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At 18 years old, these voters would also be better prepared for and made more aware of the general issues that hit working adults. They would bring to the table issues that affect their generation.

On the flip side, are 18 year old Singaporeans mature enough to be able to cast a vote based on their knowledge and understanding of Singaporean politics? Activity on social media could provide a valuable source of insight into the thoughts and sentiments of youth towards their government. In recent months we’ve seen the likes of Amos Yee, a 16 year old who took to social media to voice his views. Although skewered, Amos did have political views albeit discontent ones. Would he have looked at voting as a better outlet or channel to raise his concerns?

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Having said so, most Singaporean youths at the age of 18 would have little to no exposure or awareness of the political scene in Singapore. At the age of 18 most Singaporeans would still be in school with majority of them concentrated either on their studies, CCAs, social activities or a first foray into National Service. So just because they’re able to decide if they want to purchase alcohol or tobacco does this mean they’re ready to make a mature vote?

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What are your thoughts?

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