Tags: lower voting age | washington dc | federal elections | local elections

DC Considers Lowering Voting Age to 16

DC Considers Lowering Voting Age to 16

By    |   Tuesday, 17 April 2018 10:10 AM

Washington DC is considering lowering the voting age for federal and local elections to 16 in time for the 2020 presidential election, USA Today reported on Tuesday.

The bill was introduced last week by DC council member Charles Allen, who said the inspiration for the idea was the March For Our Lives demonstrations in which large numbers of high schoolers came to the capital to protest for stricter gun control last month following the massacre at the Parkland, Florida high school.

Supporters of the legislation say they have the backing of seven of 13 DC Council members.

Young people in the capital are pushing for the change.

"I think people are getting excited about this, especially with what's going on in the nation right now in terms of youth leading social change," Schools Without Walls senior Alisha Chopra told USA Today. "So I think that people are going to be very excited about it and want to get on board."

Woodrow Wilson High School sophomore Alex Shyer explained that "We work, we pay taxes, we care for family members, we can drive, we can do so many other things. So, adding voting onto that isn't going to be that big of a responsibility. We can handle it."

The voting age was last changed in the U.S. in 1971, during the height of protests against the Vietnam War, when Congress passed the 26th Amendment giving people 18 and older the right to vote.

In 2013, Takoma Park, Maryland became the first jurisdiction in the country to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote, and since then some other progressive cities have done the same, the largest being Berkeley, California, according to NBC News.

Cities, however, can only extend voting rights for municipal elections.

But the District of Columbia, with its special status, has some state powers and wields the authority to enfranchise 16- and-17-year-olds for all elections, including for president.

Congress, however, has the power to block such laws passed by DC.

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Washington DC is considering lowering the voting age for federal and local elections to 16 in time for the 2020 presidential election, USA Today reported on Tuesday.
lower voting age, washington dc, federal elections, local elections
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2018-10-17
Tuesday, 17 April 2018 10:10 AM
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