Vote16USA is a national campaign, organized by Generation Citizen, that aims to support efforts to lower the voting age on the local level, help start new local campaigns, and elevate the issue’s prominence on a national level.
The Vote16USA campaign was officially launched in December 2015, with the release of our white paper “Young Voices at the Ballot Box: Advancing Efforts to Lower the Voting Age.” This comprehensive report was written after extensive research and interviews with experts and stakeholders. Importantly, it included legal research to show which cities and states are primed to lower the voting age to 16. The paper has since been updated and the third edition was published in 2020.
Now, guided by an Advisory Board and a Youth Advisory Board, we aim to help with the coordination of new and current local campaigns around the country while elevating the issue nationally through traditional and social media and by building partnerships with a broad group of stakeholders. This website serves as the central hub for these efforts as we move forward.
2019-2020 YOUTH ADVISORY BOARD
Meet The Board
The effort to lower the voting age to 16 must be guided by the very young people it aims to enfranchise, and energy among this population is crucial to moving the cause forward. The Youth Advisory Board ensures the voices of young people are at the front and center as this campaign gains momentum. The board is comprised of young people who have worked or are currently working to lower the voting age in their respective cities. Board members provide crucial input to the national campaign, engage other young people in the cause, and work to elevate youth voices. Meet the current members below, organized alphabetically by first name.
Alexis is a senior at Fayette County High School in Georgia. She is working to lower the voting age because she believes elections must be an accurate representation of our civically engaged population. She became invested in civic engagement after seeing the consequences disengaged adults creating policies that significantly affect the youth. Alexis believes young people provide a unique perspective of the world and feels pride for the power her generation emanates. When Alexis isn’t working on the Vote16 campaign, you can find her at a speech and debate tournament, playing the violin or reading a book while listening to music.
Alik Schier is 17 years old and resides in Washington DC. He is a Senior at Wilson HS and is currently helping lead the Vote16DC campaign. One of his many interests include education policy, grassroots organizing, gun control, voting rights, and lowering the voting age. On most Saturdays you can find Alik serving Kombucha at his local farmers market, he loves seeing the regulars and saying hi to the dogs who stop by. @alikschier
Amira Tripp Folsom
Amira is a senior at La Salle Prep from Portland, Oregon. She got involved in Vote16 in February 2019 through the nonprofit Next Up which focuses on making democracy, and the state of Oregon, more accessible and equitable for all people. Since then, she has been advocating for these goals by registering and pre-registering students to vote, and mobilizing students through the three organizations she leads: Youth Ending Slavery, the Black Student Union, and Oregon Youth for Gun Reform. She also represents young voices as an intern at the Center for Women’s Leadership and a member of Next Up’s Board of Directors. In her free time, she loves to do makeup, go to concerts, spend time with friends, travel, watch movies, and eat sushi.
San Francisco, CA
Caleb DeBerry is the Executive Director of Vote16 Illinois. He is a junior at Northside College Prep in Chicago. When he is not running the movement to enfranchise young people in Illinois, he has been known to watch Netflix and YouTube as much as he can. He is also a member of his school’s debate team, his school’s student council, and a member of other community organizations across Chicago’s North Side. He has declared his candidacy for President of the United States in 2040.
Catie is a high school junior from Portland, Oregon. She became involved in the movement to lower the voting age through the non-profit NextUp, which focuses on making democracy more accessible and equitable. She works with NextUp to involve youth in democracy through pre-registration to vote at her school, canvassing during elections, and lobbying elected officials on issues that matter to her and her peers. She is excited to take the next step in empowering the youth perspective by working with Vote16. When she’s not doing activism work, she plays the viola in the Portland Youth Philharmonic and leads her school’s debate team and Interfaith club.
Joy Georgie is enthusiastic and passionate about each thing he does. Being a freshman in college is a hard transition but through his dedication and hard work, he still strives to make a change in his community of Boston. In addition to his advocacy through Vote16 USA and Vote16 Boston -where he is working to lower the voting age and to continue to activate his city – Joy works for MassVOTE as a Young Civic Leader to mobilize the youth.
Kayla is a 15-year-old incoming sophomore at Denver South High School in Colorado. She became involved with Vote16USA in the summer of 2019. However, she has been fighting to lower the voting age since September of 2018 through Colorado Youth Congress and Student Voice Student Vote. She’s passionate about students becoming more involved in their community and advocating for human rights. In her free time, Kayla likes to visit family and friends and run.
Los Altos, CA
Mahita Bobba is a Senior at Los Altos High School in California. She is passionate about political science, business, and environmental justice. She serves as the president of her Youth and Government delegation, and the chair of CalYMCA’s FLIP (Female Leaders in Power). As the Vote16 Los Altos lead, she is super excited to be a part of the youth advisory board and advocate for increasing youth activism. On weekends, you can find Mahita jamming out to surf rock on the beach, volunteering at the dog shelter, or drinking boba tea with friends.
Marianna Reddick is a junior at John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science in Boston, Massachusetts. She works at MassVOTE as a Young Civic Leader striving for a change in her community by encouraging civic engagement. On the Youth Advisory Board for Vote16USA, she hopes to impact the political environment to show everyone that teenagers like herself deserve a voice!
San Francisco, CA
Megan is a 17 year old, rising senior from San Francisco. She has previously worked on her local youth council to promote social justice and civic engagement. She is also interested in how equity is incorporated into environmental policy, and is passionate about environmental justice and sustainability. She is excited to figure out ways to further the Vote16 campaign in her city. She loves dogs, long walks on the beach, and rock-climbing.
Sadie is a 17-year-old senior at Berkeley High School in California and joined Vote16 as a junior through the YMCA’s Youth and Government program. She is now one of the leaders of Berkeley’s Vote16 organization, which is currently trying to implement a measure lowering the voting age. She believes that lowering the voting age will increase civic engagement among youth and will continue to fight to lower the voting age until it is law. She is proud to be a leader of this cause.
Tiffany is a 17-year-old high school senior and a youth leader in the Vote16DC and Vote16USA campaigns. She joined Vote16 through a job with the Young Women’s Project, a local organization that builds the leadership and power of young people in DC. She spent 2018 meeting with councilmembers, committees, media outlets, and peers about Vote16 to advocate for a bill to lower the voting age in DC, and continues to advocate in DC and on the national level. She will continue advocating for this issue until 16-year-old voting becomes the law, and is very proud to be a leader of this cause.
Zo Pancoast is a senior at Berkeley High School and has been involved with Vote 16 since 2018. As the co-lead of the Berkeley Vote 16 chapter, she is working with lawyers to implement Measure Y1, that gives 16 year olds the right to vote in school board elections. Zo loves organizing voter registration drives at her high school. Outside of her work with Vote 16, she enjoys playing the saxophone in jazz band, playing tennis, and working at the Exploratorium in San Francisco.
The Vote16USA Advisory Board consists of academics, policymakers, and other professionals who provide strategic advice that helps guide our work to lower the voting age on the local level.
Timothy Male was elected to the City Council of Takoma Park, Maryland, three times and launched the successful effort to lower the voting age in this city in 2012. Timothy also served in the White House at the Council on Environmental Quality from 2014-2017. He currently leads the non-profit group, the Environmental Policy Innovation Center.
Abby Kiesa is the Director of Impact at CIRCLE, the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, a national research center which focuses on young people in the United States, especially those who are marginalized or disadvantaged in political life. CIRCLE’s scholarly research informs policy and practice for healthier youth development and a better democracy. CIRCLE is part of the Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University.
Daniel Hart is Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Faculty Director of the Institute for Effective Education at Rutgers University. His research focuses on the development of civic competence, identity, personality, and morality, particularly among youth in urban areas.
Professor Joshua A. Douglas teaches and researches election law, civil procedure, constitutional law, and judicial decision making. His most recent scholarship focuses on the constitutional right to vote, with an emphasis on state constitutions, as well as the various laws, rules, and judicial decisions impacting election administration. He has also written extensively on election law procedure
Patrick Paschall is a city council member in Hyattsville, MD. He led the effort to make Hyattsville the second jurisdiction in the United States to lower the voting age in municipal elections to 16, a measure which passed in 2015. In his professional career, Patrick is the Executive Director at FreeState Legal Project, Maryland’s legal advocacy organization for the low-income lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community.
Allentza Michel is a public interest consultant who works in civic design, community and organizational development. She helped lead the push to lower the voting age in Cambridge, MA in the early 2000’s, in which the city council voted in favor of the policy numerous times but was rebuffed when the state legislature failed to grant the city’s home rule petition.
Connie Flanagan is a professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Her scholarship and teaching concerns the factors that motivate people of all ages, but especially youth, to engage in civic affairs and in the preservation of the commons that we share.
Daniela Mrabti is the Program Coordinator at the Alliance for Youth Action, a national network of youth-led, local organizations building young people’s political power. Daniela supports partner organizations on the Eastern side of the United States helping them build capacity and succeed in their civic engagement programs and issue campaigns. Daniela also manages digital communications and various national civic engagement programs.
Jacob is a student at Harvard Law School. He formerly worked as the Projects Associate for the Foundation for Civic Leadership, helping advise and catalyze projects that focus on elevating the next generation of leaders. Jacob has experience in student organizing, and brings a passion for equity and engaging young people.
Andrew Brennen is a Robertson Scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University where he is majoring in Political Science with a minor in Policy Journalism and Media Studies. Andrew co-founded the Prichard Committee Student Voice Team in 2012 as a junior in high school. In this capacity, Andrew helped launch and lead a number of projects to amplify and elevate students as partners in improving Kentucky schools.
These include a successful statewide, student-led campaign to restore 15 million dollars for low income student scholarships; the drafting and promotion of HB 236 to add students to superintendent screening committees; an investigation into the tripwires that prevent high school students from making smooth transitions to college; and a “student voice audit” of a local junior high school to engage students in improving school climate.
In January 2016, Andrew took on a new role as the National Field Director for Student Voice, a national organization with the goal of bridging the gap between students and the education community. As part of his role in Student Voice, Andrew has led a nation-wide tour with the goal of engaging thousands of students across the country through a platform called the “Student Bill of Rights”.
Andrew has assisted a wide range of organizations in engaging students including The White House, The Hewlett Foundation, Google, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and South By South West Education. Andrew draws inspiration from the quote “When we tell our stories, we change the world.”
Jen Devor struggled throughout her early education. Having almost failed out of high school, it wasn’t until her senior year that she took a class on civics and discovered her voice and passion for activism. Inspired, she applied herself and quickly became a better student gaining acceptance into the University of the Arts, moving to Philadelphia in 2002. She immediately fell in love with the city and became engaged in her community. Since then she has become a community leader, election poll worker, committeeperson, block captain, and a public school and voting rights advocate. Jen recognizes the direct correlation between education and voter turnout, and is a published author on election integrity and civic engagement. Recently in 2019, Jen ran for City Commissioner, the office that oversees elections in Philadelphia. She received over 23,000 votes from across the city and won the endorsements of many organizations and elected officials, most notably: the Philadelphia Inquirer, National Organization for Women, and Run For Something. Prior to running for office, Jen served as Director of Partnerships at Campus Philly. In this role, she organized college students to stay and work in the Greater Philadelphia region post-graduation, increasing local talent and economic development. Today, Jen continues to fight for better elections and strongly believes that engaging young people, especially by lowering the voting age to 16, is the key to election reform and a better path forward for the future of politics.