Change the Date

Cameron White, Online Editor

For me, Jan. 20 has always been a day of celebration. It’s a day to celebrate my birthday, and every four years, a day to celebrate the presidential inauguration. Like many kids, I spent much of my childhood dreaming of the day that I would be allowed to vote. With every election, I looked forward to my 18th birthday when I would be able to vote. But recently I came to the devastating realization that I would have to wait until I was 21 to vote in my first election.

Unlike the few seniors who get to vote this year, my 18th birthday falls after the Nov. 6 deadline to be eligible to vote. Although my birthday is after Election Day, it still falls within President Obama’s first term. Because voters like me turn 18 before the beginning of the next presidential term, we should be allowed to vote like anyone else.

This period of time between Election Day and Inauguration Day has often been called the lame duck period. Historically, Inauguration Day happened in early March, but after 1933 when the 20th Amendment was ratified, Inauguration Day was moved to January. The 20th Amendment states that the presidential and vice presidential term is to end on Jan. 20.

The eligible voting age should remain 18, but the cutoff date for voters should be pushed back to Jan. 20. With this later date, everyone who turns 18 during the president’s term will be given a chance to vote. Current laws allow 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote if their birthday is happening sometime before Nov. 6. If the law is revised to allow 17-year-olds to vote if their birthdays are during the lame duck period, not only will there be more voters, but there will be a greater representation of the youth of America.