Lowering the Voting Age from the Ground Up: The United States' Experience in Allowing 16-Year Olds to Vote
Since a constitutional amendment in 1971, the voting age in America has been 18 for virtually all elections nationwide. In 2013, Takoma Park, Maryland lowered the voting age to 16 for its local elections. Several other cities in Maryland followed suit. Then, in 2016, Berkeley, California voters approved a ballot measure to lower the voting age for school board elections, and San Francisco voters narrowly rejected a similar measure for all local elections. The debate has now spread to other places, with additional cities, states, and even Congress considering the issue. This chapter tells the recent stories of these debates, with insights about the continued effort. A key takeaway is that youths themselves have been the primary advocates for this reform. Successful implementation has required a youth-driven campaign as well as a sustained push for enhanced democratic engagement among the entire electorate, along with dedication to improved civics education. Furthermore, the idea to lower the voting age to 16 has now entered the national conversation, with over 100 members of Congress supporting a measure to lower the voting age for federal elections. Yet political considerations remain a barrier in many places.
Lowering the Voting Age to 16: Learning from Real Experiences Worldwide
Jan Eichhorn and Johannes Bergh
voting, sixteen, age
Election Law | Law
Douglas, Joshua A., "Lowering the Voting Age from the Ground Up: The United States' Experience in Allowing 16-Year Olds to Vote" (2020). Law Faculty Books and Chapters. 32.