WASHINGTON – Entertainers visiting the nation’s capital expressed support for lowering the voting age from 18 to 16.
“I do. I haven’t given it a lot of thought except that it’s obviously in all of our minds since the Parkland incident and seeing how involved and how socially conscious those kids are. And in campaigning around the country in the last election, a lot of young people under the voting age were out working for their candidates, whoever they were,” said actor Richard Schiff from The West Wing and Ballers during an interview with PJM at the Creative Coalition’s “#RightToBearArts Gala” on April 27.
“The age doesn’t matter to me. I’ve met 16-year-olds that are much smarter than me and yeah, they should vote, you know,” he added.
The District of Columbia City Council is currently considering a proposal to lower the legal voting age to 16.
Schiff, 62, said lowering the voting age would have to occur “side-to-side” with more civics education in public schools.
“We have to put civics back in our education so these kids are learning about the process of government and politics outside of school. Maybe in Parkland it’s different, but we have to get civics back and whenever anyone is qualified to vote they should vote,” he said. “But we’ve got to teach our kids what the Constitution means, how the process of elections work and why gerrymandering is a problem.”
Shadow Sen. Paul Strauss (D-D.C.) supported the idea, citing the “bright and articulate” Parkland survivors who are under 18 and have been advocating for gun control.
“They’re informed. They’re affected by the issues and they have, in some ways, more at stake – so why not add some voters to rolls that are focused on the future? They have access to information in ways that perhaps when I was 16, without the Internet, I didn’t have, so right now I’m for it. I think it’s a great idea,” he said. “We already let people younger than 18 vote in primaries leading up to the general if you’re going to be 18 years old on the date of the general, so I think it makes sense.”
Sean Giambrone, 18, who plays Adam Goldberg on The Goldbergs, also agreed with the proposal.
“Right off the bat I was like yes, and then I had to take a moment to make sure, but yeah, I think so,” he said. “It’s great to get kids informed about all the different topics and get started in speaking up and putting their vote forward. Yeah, I think that’s a great idea.”
Actress Victoria Justice, 25, from Victorious was unsure if lowering the voting age to 16 is a good idea.
“I mean, I think that there are a lot of 16-year-olds that are probably well-informed and would love to vote and I think that would be great, but I think there are also probably a lot of 16-year-olds that don’t really know anything about politics. I don’t know. It could go either way for me,” said Justice, who is also a recording artist.
Actor Tim Daly of Madame Secretary said he opposes the idea.
“I think that there are certainly a lot of 16-year-olds who would be perfectly capable of making a decision at the ballot box but, I mean, I think of myself when I was 16 and I was an unmitigated disaster,” said Daly, 62.
“I couldn’t have voted for dogcatcher, and I don’t think that was because I was a bad person or not an intelligent person. I think it was because I was a teenage boy and I was crazy and my hormones were racing and I was not making any good decisions,” he added. “So I would think 18 is just fine.”