Should the voting age be lowered to 16?

Awaiting Vote
Bill Summary

This resolution proposes an amendment to the Constitution of the United States that would lower the minimum voting age from eighteen to sixteen years old. It would repeal the 26th amendment to the Constitution that set the minimum voting age to eighteen years old. This resolution would allow Americans sixteen years or older the right to vote that cannot be denied on account of age. Sponsor: Rep. Grace Meng (Democrat, New York, District 6) View full bill text ➔

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Opponents say

•     "Our society has agreed since then for 50 years that 18 is when a child becomes an adult. I find it interesting that our friends across the aisle don’t want to have 16- and 17-year-olds tried as adults when they commit violent adult crimes. And yet they want those 16- and 17-year-olds to have the franchise." Source: Rep. Pat Fallon (Republican, Texas, District 4)

•     "At 16, most kids have little awareness of politics, civics, or American history, and they have little life experience to inform their decisions. Although a small percentage may work or even contribute to household expenses, few hold full-time jobs or fully care for themselves. Most don’t even pay for their own cellphones — let alone groceries, rent, utility bills, or property taxes. Simply put, they don’t have enough skin in the game." Source: Jennifer C. Braceras (Senior Fellow, Independent Women’s Forum)

Proponents say

     "Our young people, including 16- and 17-year-olds, continue to fight and advocate for so many issues that they are passionate about from gun safety to the climate crisis. They have been tremendously engaged on policies affecting their lives and their futures. Their activism, determination, and efforts to demand change are inspirational and have truly impacted our nation. It’s time to give them a voice in our democracy by permitting them to be heard at the ballot box. That is why I have continued to sponsor my constitutional amendment to lower the voting age to 16 for all elections (H.J.Res. 23). After all, 16- and 17-year-olds are legally permitted to work and drive. They also pay federal income taxes. I believe that it is right and fair to also allow them to vote. Let’s let them be heard and make their voices count. Let’s give them a say in choosing who they want their government representatives to be." Source: Rep. Grace Meng (Democrat, New York, District 6) 

•     "All over the country, and in my district especially, we see young activists working tirelessly to make their voices heard – from battling climate change and gun violence to advocating for racial justice and economic equality. Our nation’s leadership should be accountable to this younger generation who will be most impacted by these existential threats. By lowering the voting age from 18 to 16 years old, we can ensure that our youth have a say on these issues that will impact them well into their future." Source: Rep. Jan Schakowsky (Democrat, Illinois, District 9)