A major American city may soon allow 16-year-olds to vote — and others could follow suit

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  2 months ago  •  36 comments

By:   Haley Talbot and Julie Tsirkin

A major American city may soon allow 16-year-olds to vote — and others could follow suit
San Francisco residents will be casting ballots in November to determine if the city should be allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in local elections.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



San Francisco residents will be casting ballots in November to determine not just who should be in the White House, but if the city should be allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in local elections.

A similar measure introduced in 2016 narrowly failed with 48 percent of the vote, but local activists and organizers are confident that it will pass that this time.

"I really think that Vote 16 will help youth of color in San Francisco establish the habit of voting at an earlier age, and really provide them with the support and the resources that they need to continue building on that habit as they grow older," said Crystal Chan, an 18-year old organizer for Vote 16 SF who fought to get the measure on the ballot.

If the proposition passes, San Francisco would become the first major American city to give 16- and 17-year-olds the right to vote in municipal elections. But the question remains: what would be improved by lowering the voting age by just two years?

"Research is clear on this, that voting is a habit. And 16 is a better time than 18 to establish that habit," Brandon Klugman, Vote 16's campaign manager, told NBC News. "Our motivation here first and foremost is to make sure that we put new voters in a position to establish that habit in the first election they're eligible for, and then to continue participating throughout their lives which is good for democracy on every level."

While this debate is getting renewed attention, some cities have allowed people as young as 16 to vote in local elections for years — like Takoma Park, Maryland, where city officials say they've seen positive results since its implementation in 2013, pointing to increased youth engagement and higher turnout.

"I hear from a lot of people around the country who are interested, a lot of young people but also people who are not young, who are interested in adopting this in their communities," said Jessie Carpenter, a Takoma Park city clerk.

At the federal level, lowering the voting age has not picked up the same traction, but the initiative does have some bipartisan support in the halls of Congress.

Congresswoman Grace Meng, D-NY, has long advocated for the issue and introduced a constitutional amendment in 2018 to lower the voting age nationwide to 16.

"I'm always inspired by our nation's youth who have demonstrated wisdom, maturity and passion on issues like social justice, gun control, and climate change," Meng said in a statement. "They are the leaders of our future and the decisions we make impact their lives every day. To capture their views and experiences, we must lower the voting age to 16 in all elections."

Rep Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., introduced an amendment to HR 1 — the For the People Act — in 2019, to lower the federal voting age to 16. The amendment received 126 votes including one Republican, Texas Rep. Michael Burgess, a member of the Rules Committee who said it struck a chord with him.

"Here's the point: would policymakers pay more attention to the problems that are being dealt to this segment of the demographic if policymakers were actually answerable to them? I think it is worth having the discussion," Burgess said in March of 2019.

The movement also garnered mainstream support including from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi D-Calif., who has long supported the idea.

"I think it's really important to capture kids when they're in high school, when they're interested in all of this, when they're learning about government, to be able to vote," Pelosi, who represents San Francisco, said in March of 2019.

Skeptics argue that 16-year-olds are not mature or informed enough to cast a ballot and that the policy could be inconsistent with other age-related requirements in the United States.

Nate Hochman, a senior at Colorado College and Republican Activist, doesn't support the initiative to lower the voting age, citing multiple reasons including whether young people have enough experience in "understanding exactly what good governance looks like" within their communities.

"Sixteen-year-olds — they're sophomores, juniors in high school like they're deeply impressionable. They're largely interested in learning what, you know, their friends are doing and appearing to be cool. And they're not capable of making completely rational decisions about voting," Hochman said. "When are you an adult? When do we trust you to make your own decisions about who you are in the world and making your own way?"

As was the case in recent years with gun safety advocacy and climate change, Klugman believes that the coronavirus pandemic lends urgency to the need for young people to have a say in local elections.

"We've seen the concrete effects that local policy decisions make on the lives of young people really more clearly than ever as school boards and local officials figure out how they're gonna reopen schools… how they're going to make sure that young people have access to remote learning and the achievement gap doesn't widen."

While Klugman is optimistic that support for the movement will continue to grow at the local level, he looks forward to it someday becoming the law of the land.

"I think we're just getting the conversation started here, and hopefully, when we look back a few decades down the road, we'll say hey, that actually was inevitable — even though it started off as something that was seen as pretty new and pretty bold."


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Bob Nelson
1  Bob Nelson    2 months ago

I used to think that sixteen-year-olds were too inexperienced. That their inexperience would keep them from distinguishing truth from bullshit. 

Now we see that age and experience in no way ensure rational thought. Lots of seniors deny reality. 

So.... why not get the kids involved? 

 
 
 
Gordy327
1.1  Gordy327  replied to  Bob Nelson @1    2 months ago
So.... why not get the kids involved? 

Maybe because it's a bad idea? 

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
1.1.1  Bob Nelson  replied to  Gordy327 @1.1    2 months ago

Maybe.

What is your opinion?

How do you defend it? 

 
 
 
Gordy327
1.1.2  Gordy327  replied to  Bob Nelson @1.1.1    one month ago

Kids are generally not mature or intelligent enough at that age to take such matters seriously. They are probably less likely to examine a candidate and the issues rationally or logically and may be more prone to going by whatever their friends or parents tell them. Granted, that also seems to apply to many adults nowadays too. Kids at 16 are probably more interested on getting laid than politics. They may not even have taken a basic civics course in school. 

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
1.1.3  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  Gordy327 @1.1.2    one month ago
Kids at 16 are probably more interested on getting laid than politics. They may not even have taken a basic civics course in school.

Probably? I know for sure that's true. I have a 19 and 17 year old under my roof.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
1.1.4  Bob Nelson  replied to  Gordy327 @1.1.2    one month ago
They are probably less likely to examine a candidate and the issues rationally... 

I used to think that way... but now... when I observe the foolishness of our adults... even our seniors... I have to wonder if teens wouldn't do less poorly. 

 
 
 
Gordy327
1.1.5  Gordy327  replied to  Bob Nelson @1.1.4    one month ago

I'm not convinced teens would do better. So no need to add to the mess.

 
 
 
Kavika
2  Kavika     2 months ago
Skeptics argue that 16-year-olds are not mature or informed enough to cast a ballot

Numerous people on both sides of the aisle simply vote a straight party ticket. No investigation of the people other than to see if there is a R or a D after the name. And skeptics argue that 16-year-olds are not mature or informed. What a frickin joke.

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
3  Ed-NavDoc    2 months ago

Leave it to San Francisco to come up with a lame idea like this!

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
3.1  Bob Nelson  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @3    2 months ago

Why do you think it's lame? 

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
3.1.1  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Bob Nelson @3.1    2 months ago

Because, in my personal opinion, 16 years old is far too young a age to vote responsibly, and San Francisco and California in general with it's leftist liberal mindset in general are the ones most likely to come up with something like this. Not to mention the increase in the Democrat's voter base. Again, just my opinion for whatever it is or is not worth

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
3.1.2  Bob Nelson  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @3.1.1    2 months ago

I used to think that same about maturity... but when people our age can disagree so profoundly, I have to wonder if the age of wisdom isn't perhaps death. 

 
 
 
Drakkonis
3.1.3  Drakkonis  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @3.1.1    2 months ago
Again, just my opinion for whatever it is or is not worth

I happen to agree with you. Plus, the public education system is a Democratic animal. It pumps out a large amount of functional idiots, by design, who have been indoctrinated into the leftist's ideologies. Basically, whatever makes them feel good, no rational thought needed. 

This country, in my opinion, is heading toward being dominated by Democrats for whatever few years this country has left. Allowing 16 year old children, who have no life experience and have been taught not to think, but instead just feel, will make it happen a little bit faster. 

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
3.1.4  Bob Nelson  replied to  Drakkonis @3.1.3    2 months ago
This country, in my opinion, is heading toward being dominated by Democrats.. 

Unless Trump's loyalist "law enforcement" tramples the law to keep him in office. 

 
 
 
Drakkonis
3.1.5  Drakkonis  replied to  Bob Nelson @3.1.4    2 months ago
Unless Trump's loyalist "law enforcement" tramples the law to keep him in office. 

Possible, I suppose, but unlikely. I think too many on the Right, and rightly so, would object to keeping Trump in office if he legitimately lost. Just the way we are.

But, really, the biggest reason I think we're headed for a future dominated by Democrats is that the Bible more or less says it will be so. Satan will deceive the nations. You Dems seem to be making that a reality just as fast as you possibly can. There's no  such thing as objective morality. Morality is whatever you want it to be. Or so seems to be the Democratic position. Support anyone who believes anything they want to be true. Everyone has the right to be god of their own life. I would guess such a position fits right in with your religious beliefs. 

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
3.1.6  Bob Nelson  replied to  Drakkonis @3.1.5    2 months ago

Wow... 

 
 
 
Gordy327
3.1.7  Gordy327  replied to  Bob Nelson @3.1.6    one month ago

Just wow.

 
 
 
Gordy327
3.1.8  Gordy327  replied to  Drakkonis @3.1.5    one month ago

Really? The bible says Democrats will dominate?  Wow indeed. Well if you really believe that, then you should vote & cheer Democrat, as that plays right into your bible story which also means the return of your Jesus friend. But you are correct about 1 thing. There is no such thing as objective morality, as morality is subjective.

 
 
 
r.t..b...
3.1.9  r.t..b...  replied to  Drakkonis @3.1.5    one month ago
Support anyone who believes anything they want to be true.

As opposed to the those who will summarily decide for all of society what they themselves define to be true. A much more frightening scenario in any context.

 
 
 
Drakkonis
3.1.10  Drakkonis  replied to  r.t..b... @3.1.9    one month ago
As opposed to the those who will summarily decide for all of society what they themselves define to be true. A much more frightening scenario in any context.

Yes, I would agree. 

 
 
 
Nerm_L
4  Nerm_L    2 months ago

Yes, I suppose lowering the voting age could establish a lifelong habit of voting.  But that would be coupled with establishing other lifelong habits of political biases, prejudices, and divisions.  

The voting age was lowered from 21 to 18 by the 26th amendment, ratified in 1971.  How has that affected politics in the United States?  Did lowering the voting age make the country less divided or more divided?

The argument put forward is that lowering the voting age would make elected officials more accountable to younger constituents.  But that argument isn't supported by what has happened with college education (an important influence for the 18 year old constituency).  In fact, it can be argued that political pandering to to voters preparing to enter college has almost destroyed the value of higher education.  The political promises were to make higher education more accessible.  The promise was to go to college - a miracle occurs - and graduates would have better jobs, higher income, more economic security in old age.  How has that worked out?

It's easy to politically appeal to youth's individual self-interest by promising a future that only requires voting.  But one consequence is that the individual self-interest of youth becomes a life long habit that will extend beyond politics.

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
4.1  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  Nerm_L @4    one month ago
But one consequence is that the individual self-interest of youth becomes a life long habit that will extend beyond politics.

You mean this wouldn't help the entitlement mindset? \s

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
5  Mark in Wyoming     2 months ago

I think the key word here is LOCAL, now what the proposition deems as a local election  could be simply within the city district , it doesnt say anything about state level  representation  so they likely wont be voting for anything more than local politicians and school board members and the like., and it would not apply to federal level elections  since the min age has already been established for that and i doubt that will be changed anytime soon.

actually , i dont think its really a bad idea to get younger voters introduced to voting  on local issues , and stressing how important voting actually CAN be .

 
 
 
charger 383
6  charger 383    2 months ago

First it is very wrong that you can't legally drink at 18 or purchase other items but can vote, either you you are a full  adult at 18 or wait till 21, enough of this half rights stuff

Vote at 16 then full adult rights and responsibilities; smoking, drinking, age of consent, join the military, get married, adult jail if convicted of a crime, buy a gun of any legal type, ect ect    

 
 
 
Gordy327
6.1  Gordy327  replied to  charger 383 @6    2 months ago
First it is very wrong that you can't legally drink at 18 or purchase other items but can vote,

But at 18, you're old enough to join the military and die for your country. But you can't drink? Something not quite right about that.

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
6.1.1  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Gordy327 @6.1    2 months ago

Funny, I remember running into that same conundrum in the early 70;s when I joined the Navy. It was okay if you were on a military base overseas, but when you came back to "the world" it was a whole different ball game. I remember getting thrown out of more than one bar when I came back to CONUS (Continental United States).

 
 
 
Gordy327
6.1.2  Gordy327  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @6.1.1    2 months ago

I know, right? There's something not quite right about that.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
6.1.3  Bob Nelson  replied to  Gordy327 @6.1.2    2 months ago

21 for beer is just stupid 

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
6.2  Bob Nelson  replied to  charger 383 @6    2 months ago

We accrue rights as we grow up. Children are not apt at everything an adult does. 

Aptitude for this or that doesn't all arrive at the same time. Education and physiology arrive gradually. They aren't synchronized. Much of "becoming an adult" is just acquiring experience. 

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
7  Paula Bartholomew    2 months ago

From what I researched, it is a pre registration to vote at 18.

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
8  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)    one month ago

I have a 19 year old and a 17 year old living in my home and they both said that in regards to voting, they're not informed enough nor are they ready for the responsibility yet. This is not me speaking, it's them. 

I take issue with MI state legislature changing the age of tobacco [or other nicotine products] purchase age to 21, but there are some that want to change the voting age to 16? What kind of sense is that? They're not mature enough at 18 to decide whether or not to purchase tobacco or tobacco products or anything containing nicotine or to purchase alcohol in any form, but they are mature enough to decide who should be in office at 16? And at 18, they're mature enough to decide they are willing to die for our country but not mature enough to purchase and own their own firearm? Seriously... this is pure insanity. Either make everything 18 or make everything 21. My vote would be for the latter personally; can't join the military, purchase tobacco, firearms, alcohol, or vote until the age of 21.

16 year olds don't have enough sense to use deodorant and shower regularly or do any chores without being told to 5 times; do you really think they're ready to vote?

 
 
 
JohnRussell
9  JohnRussell    one month ago

Not in favor of 16 yr olds voting. IMO they would be considerably more likely to vote for a candidate for trivial or irrelevant reasons.  Not that adults are immune to that, but it would be much more prevalent with 16 and 17 year olds. 

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
9.1  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  JohnRussell @9    one month ago

Wow... JR, we're in agreement on this topic too! We're on a roll! jrSmiley_91_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
9.2  Bob Nelson  replied to  JohnRussell @9    one month ago

Why does anyone vote for Donald Trump? Would children be less wise? 

 
 
 
r.t..b...
10  r.t..b...    one month ago

As a middle-school teacher in a previous life, an assignment given my students as an election approached was to write a short exposition of whom they were voting for and more importantly, the reasons behind that vote. This was done after weeks of civic lessons and historical references in getting them excited and engaged in the wonderful gift that is the power of the vote. We held debates in class and made election day a celebration. The words written by some of the students still resonate with me to this day...and almost to a one, they talked about the future...for it was their future at stake. Something woefully lacking in any discussion today as both parties are more focused on pointing fingers and placing blame than doing the hard work of looking more than just two months down the road in the insatiable thirst for maintaining and/or attaining power.

Not saying a 16 year old should be given the responsibility of casting an informed ballot, just pointing out that age does not necessarily make an informed vote a guarantee. This election, perhaps more than any other, is testament to that.

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
10.1  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  r.t..b... @10    one month ago

Sadly, they don't teach like that anymore. We had an exercise like that in my government class and it so happened to be the year I was able to vote for the first time.

 
 
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