Penn professor Jonathan Zimmerman wrote an op-ed arguing that 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds in the United States should be able to vote.
The article, published on March 26 in the New York Daily News, was written as a reaction to the increasing role of teen activism in the U.S., following the March For Our Lives protest in Washington D.C. on March 24.
At Penn, Zimmerman is a professor of History of Education in Penn’s Graduate School of Education.
In past op-eds, Zimmerman has called on colleges to stop recognizing fraternities and also for Penn to acknowledge Ben Franklin's ties to slavery. In September 2016, Zimmerman wrote about the most effective strategies for campus protesters in his book “Campus Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know.”
In the op-ed, Zimmerman claims that at least 20 countries already allow voting from teens under 18, and in Takoma Park, Md., this demographic votes at rates two to three times higher than all registered voters.
Zimmerman adds that many teens “shade to the left” and are likely to vote on the liberal side of issues such as gun control.
“Until they can cast ballots, too, people with power can continue to ignore them,” Zimmerman said of the short-term effect of teen activism.
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