San Francisco might allow 16 year olds to vote

Thomas Veil

Moderator
Staff member
Aug 13, 2020
480
820
This is an interesting idea and I can see some valid arguments for it.

A major American city may soon allow 16-year-olds to vote — and others could follow suit
If the proposition passes, San Francisco would become the first large city to give 16- and 17-year-olds the right to vote in local elections.

...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.
...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.
To be clear, the proposed law is local and wouldn't (and couldn't) give people that age the authority to vote at state or federal levels. Although liberals can see the obvious appeal of the idea, the chances of it passing and being ratified as a Constitutional amendment are minimal.

But there are several arguments for bringing the discussion to the table anyway. At this point in our history, no one can point to 16 year olds and say that they don't have enough wisdom to vote. The Trumpers have proven that age obviously does not necessarily confer wisdom. There are plenty of rational 16 years olds out there right now with whom you can have a more rational political discussion than you can with your 60 year old neighbor with the Trump flag on his house.

Then too, there's the variation on the old Vietnam draft argument: if you're old enough to get shot at, you're old enough to vote.