Sixteen-year-olds in Hawai'i are able to work, and are generally taxed no different than their adult counterparts. Regardless of this, these young tax-payers cannot vote. Considering that the United States was founded majorly on the idea that individuals should not be taxed without representation, it is strange that this is acceptable within our current election laws.
Upon turning 16, Hawai'i residents can obtain a Provisional Driver's License, and a standard Driver's License upon turning 17. Oddly enough, the State allows these young people to operate a vehicle at their own volition, but not to participate in the system that regulates the roads they drive on, or the traffic laws they follow.
Young people at this age are often faced with big decisions, like choosing where to go to college or whether to get student loans or not. Though teenagers are allowed and usually expected to make these life-changing choices all the time, they have minimal direct influence over potentially life-changing government policy. It is hypocritical of our society to allow a teenager to attain enormous debts, but not cast a ballot in their district.
The amount of effort required to bring about the change we would like to see is relatively minimal. The word "eighteen" in Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution of the State of Hawai'i must be amended to "sixteen." That is the bare minimum. This change, if passed by the state legislature, would then be placed onto the ballot for the next election. We firmly believe that if the State of Hawai'i wants to increase voter turnout among young people, this may just be the best way to do it.
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